On 16th September, Prime Minister Modi inaugurated the news office complexes which as a part of the Central Vista Project. More than 7,000 defence ministry officers and staff will be shifting into brand new offices at Africa Avenue and Kasturba Gandhi Marg, finally relieving themselves from the existing decades-old workplaces from the pre-Independence era.
Some of these hutments in the vicinity of the North and South Blocks served as stables for British Army horses, more than 75 years ago. 27 wings of the defence ministry, including a navy station INS India, the Armed Forces Clinic and a medical wing of the armed forces have been operating from these hutments for many decades.
Over the next couple of months, the shifting will take shape in a phased and systematic manner. The office complexes, which have been constructed at a cost of Rs.775 crores, is to be provided by the Ministry of Defense. The shift is also supposed to accommodate the new Prime Minister’s residence, as part of the Central Vista project. Almost 50 acres of land will be vacated as part of the project; it includes a new parliament building and new office blocks for the functioning of central government ministries and departments.
The Opposition’s baseless allegation
Previously in May, the oppositions got together and wrote a letter to PM Modi; the letter demanded that the budgetary allocation of Rs 35,000 crore set aside for the Central Vista project – construction for which had already begun by then, be instead spent for buying vaccines from the central pool and procuring medical grade oxygen. The letter also said that all money held in the PM Cares Fund should be used to buy more vaccines, oxygen and medical equipment.
Puri Slams Oppositions
Slamming the opposition as well as 60 former bureaucrats who wrote an open letter to PM Narendra Modi creating a false narrative that the government initiated the project for ‘superstitious’ reasons. Puri was holding a press conference and his thunderous monologue came after the Delhi High Court ruled that the Central Vista project is of national importance, he termed as a necessity, and not a vanity project and allowed the construction work to continue.
Reportedly, sixty former bureaucrats had written the letter to Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Puri. The letter stated, “…this project (Central Vista) began if reports are to be believed, because of a superstitious belief that the present Parliament building is ‘unlucky’, as well as with the thought of leaving a particular government and its leader’s impress on the architecture of Delhi.”
Hardeep picked up the statement and tore apart the bureaucrats for giving such a ludicrous reason. “This project began, if reports are to be believed, because of a superstitious belief that the present Parliament building is ‘unlucky’. How someone can put their signature on this bizarre letter defies logic!” said the Minister.
Hardeep Singh Puri remarked with anguish, that the letter signatories were not educated fools (padhe likhe moorkh), but a disgrace to the country.
Details of the Construction
The office complexes situated at Africa Avenue will be scattered across four blocks and offers a space of 5.08 lakh square feet while the KG Marg set up has three blocks and an office area of 4.52 lakh square feet. Both the complexes together will have parking space for 1,500 cars. Instead of being spread out in various hutments and old buildings (A, B, E, G, H, J, L& M Block, Plot No 30 and Plot No.108 and Jodhpur House), co-location of these buildings will ensure higher efficiency and working. The new buildings will be based on modern amenities, connectivity and will also have welfare facilities like canteens and banks. The construction of the new complexes did not involve uprooting of trees, according to an official.
Despite the opposition’s baseless allegation against the Central Vista project, the whole nation is looking forward to this magnificent work of Indian architecture based on advanced and modern amenities, breaking the shackles of the colonial era.