Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Thursday inaugurated new Union Ministry of Defence offices at New Delhi's Kasturba Gandhi Marg and Africa Avenue, in the presence of Union ministers Rajnath Singh and Hardeep Singh Puri and Chief of Defence Staff General Bipin Rawat.
The three service chiefs " Army Chief General Manoj Mukund Naravane, Indian Air Force Chief Marshal Rakesh Kumar Singh Bhadauria and Indian Navy Chief Admiral Karambir Singh were also present at the ceremony.
The two new multi-storey swanky office complexes at Kasturba Gandhi Marg and Africa Avenue will house 7,000 employees from the defence ministry and the armed forces.
The officers and other staffers of the defence ministry and the armed forces are moving into the new office complexes from their existing workplaces in pre-Independence era hutments in and around the Raisina Hills.
The two buildings, constructed by the Union Housing and Urban Affairs with resources allocated by the defence ministry, have an office space of 9.60 lakh sq feet.
Speaking at the inauguration, Modi said, "Today, in the 75th year of Independence, we are taking another step towards developing the capital of our country according to the needs and aspirations of the new India.
"These new defence office complexes are going to further strengthen our efforts to make the working of our forces more convenient and effective."
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The prime minister said the modern offices will go a long way in effectively carrying out all the work related to the security of the nation by the three forces.
"This is a big step towards the creation of a modern defence enclave in the capital," he said. These state-of-the-art buildings have been built at a cost of Rs 775 crore provided by the defence ministry.
One of the defining features of these buildings is the use of new and sustainable construction technology called Light gauge steel frame (LGSF), which reduced construction time from 24-30 months in the case of conventional RCC construction.
The buildings utilise resource-efficient green technology and promote environmentally friendly practices. The offices have been shifted as part of the changes needed for the Central Vista project.
Speaking at the event, Prime Minister Narendra Modi also hit out at critics of the ambitious project and asserted that ease of living and ease of doing business was behind the spirit of the work being done under the initiative.
In his address, Modi criticised those who were opposed to the Central Vista project saying they never bothered to find out how the armed forces personnel were working in those hutments. "Those people who were after the Central Vista project were very conveniently silent on this aspect that construction of a place for 7,000 employees of the defence ministry and armed forces is part of the project because they knew that their idea of spreading misconception and lies would be exposed when this comes to the fore."
"When we talk about the capital, it is not just a city. The capital of any country is a symbol of the thinking, determination, strength and culture of that country," Modi said. "India is the mother of democracy. Therefore, the capital of India should be such that its central focus should be people," he said.
"Today, when we are focusing on ease of living and ease of doing business, modern infrastructure plays an equally important role in this. This is the spirit at the core of the work being done today related to Central Vista," the prime minister said.
He also said that he was confident that work on the new Parliament building will be completed on time.
The Central Vista project generated massive controversy and criticism, with critics and opposition leaders questioning the need to spend thousands of crores on government buildings instead of spending it on vaccine development and distribution or scaling up health infrastructure.
The government has dismissed all criticism, insisting that the project had been conceived in September 2019 (before the pandemic) and that no historic buildings will be demolished.
Inputs from agencies