Defence minister Rajnath Singh during the foundation ceremony of the Thal Sena Bhawan, in New Delhi, on Friday(Vipin Kumar/HT photo)
Defence minister Rajnath Singh during the foundation ceremony of the Thal Sena Bhawan, in New Delhi, on Friday(Vipin Kumar/HT photo)

New army complex to help save resources: Rajnath Singh

The Thal Sena Bhawan will come up near the army’s sprawling Manekshaw Centre in Delhi Cantonment. Spread over 39 acres, the multi-storeyed complex, which will have a constructed area of 7.5 lakh square metre, will house 6,014 offices and is expected to be built by 2024-25.
Hindustan Times, New Delhi | By HT Correspondent
UPDATED ON FEB 22, 2020 12:16 AM IST

Defence minister Rajnath Singh, who laid the foundation of the Thal Sena Bhawan on Friday, said that the new complex would play a significant role in saving valuable resources and contribute to administrative efficiency, such as bringing army offices, scattered across eight pockets in the national capital, under one roof.

The Thal Sena Bhawan will come up near the army’s sprawling Manekshaw Centre in Delhi Cantonment. Spread over 39 acres, the multi-storeyed complex, which will have a constructed area of 7.5 lakh square metre, will house 6,014 offices and is expected to be built by 2024-25. The army, which is the biggest among the three services, has been demanding a new complex for several years to accommodate its several wings scattered across the city such as the South Block, Sena Bhawan, RK Puram, the Hutments Area around Central Vista and Shankar Vihar.

The prominent offices that will shift to the new complex include the Engineer-in-Chief’s office, Territorial Army, recruitment branch, some offices of Headquarters Integrated Defence Staff, Army Welfare Housing Organisation, medical branch, National Cadet Corps, Remount and Veterinary Corps and the Ex-servicemen Contributory Health Scheme, two army officials said.

A defence ministry release quoted Singh as saying that the complex will serve as a “source of inspiration that will remind the people of the country about the sacrifices made by our soldiers”. The minister credited the armed forces personnel for making an invaluable contribution towards nation building, emphasising that India has emerged as one of the most powerful nations because of the sacrifices made by the soldiers.

Addressing the soldiers, he underlined the importance of greater jointness and integration among the three services, adding that the appointment of Chief of Defence Staff and creation of Department of Military Affairs were important steps in that direction.

The release cited that the complex has been conceptualised as a multi-storeyed green building, adopting Green Rating for Integrated Habitat Assessment (GRIHA) norms. It will be an oval shaped complex, with eight wings branching out in a radial format.

Each of the eight wings of the complex — to be separated by green spaces — will have seven floors.

“This new headquarters will be dedicated to the courage and valour of those unsung heroes of the armed forces who have sacrificed their lives for the nation,” Singh tweeted

To be sure, the Sena Bhawan, which is located near South Block, and houses several key offices of the army, will continue to function from its current premises. The new complex will help decongest the crowded Sena Bhawan. The army chief and several other senior officers, who have their offices in the South Block, will continue to work from there until the defence ministry moves out to a new location under the Central Vista redevelopment plan. In that sense, the new complex isn’t really the army’s headquarters.

The Thal Sena Bhawan is coming up at a time when the government has approved the Central Vista redevelopment plan that includes a slew of changes to existing structures, with a new Parliament building and a common secretariat for all central government offices among its most prominent new features.

According to the plan, the North and South Block office complexes will be turned into national museums. The central government ministries, including those in the North and South Block, will be shifted to a common secretariat.

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