The Cabinet Secretariat, National Security Council Secretariat and a conference facility like the Hyderabad House, which are currently at different locations in Lutyens’ Delhi, will be located together with the new Prime Minister’s Office that will come up behind the South Block, according to the Union Housing and Urban Affairs Ministry.
The shifting of employees of the Defence Ministry and the armed forces from hutments near the South Block will pave the way for the construction of the new PMO and the PM’s residence under the Central Vista redevelopment project.
At the inauguration of two swanky office buildings on Thursday, Prime Minister Narendra Modi also launched the dedicated website of Centre Vista which has details of ongoing and proposed projects, and also counters “myths” about the government’s ambitious redevelopment plan.
According to the Central Vista website, the PMO is to be relocated to a new office proposed on the plot nos. 36 and 38 behind the South Block, after shifting of hutments.
“The Cabinet Secretariat, National Security Council Secretariat (NSCS) and a conferencing facility like Hyderabad House of MEA shall also be located together with the PMO. Together, this ensemble will form the Executive Enclave,” the website, operated by the Union Housing and Urban Affairs, stated.
High-level talks, especially with top visiting leaders of various countries, are currently held in the Hyderabad House. The historic edifice has been hosting top international leaders for decades.
A senior official in the Central Public Works Department (CPWD), which has been executing the Central Vista redevelopment project, said that since employees of the Defence Ministry and armed forces will be shifting to two new buildings at KG Marg and Africa Avenue, the work of removing hutments will soon begin.
The Vice President’s Residence is currently located on Maulana Azad Road. A new Vice President’s Residence is proposed to be constructed after the shifting of hutments behind the North Block.
The Central Vista project website also contains information with regard to shifting of ministries and departments functioning from the Shram Shakti Bhawan and Transport Bhawan to GPOA II at KG Marg. By March 2022, the project will be completed.
Chambers of Members of Parliament will be constructed at the place of Transport Bhawan and Shram Shakti Bhawan.
According to the plan, 54 National Defence College (NDC) suites which are currently housed at Raksha Bhawan will be temporarily relocated to GPOA II at KG Marg.
North and South Blocks, which currently house the most important ministries, will serve as the National Museum after being retrofitted and refurbished, and upgraded to world-class facilities.
The central plaza between the two blocks will be a space for installations, where programmed performances and public activities will allow citizens and tourists to engage with the splendours of this complex, even after museum hours, according to the Central Vista website.
The redevelopment project of the Central Vista — the nation’s power corridor — envisages a new triangular Parliament building, a common central secretariat, revamping of the three-km-long Rajpath from Rashtrapati Bhavan to India Gate, a new Prime Minister’s residence and PMO, and a new Vice President’s enclave.
The Central Vista website also seeks to bust “myths” and counters allegations made by the Opposition regarding the Central Vista project.
Countering the claim of Rs 20,000 crore being spent on the Central Vista project this year during COVID-19 pandemic, the ministry stated in the website that till date, only two projects — the new parliament building with tendered cost Rs 862 crore and the redevelopment of Central Vista Avenue with tendered cost Rs 477 crore — have been awarded and works are underway.
“Expenditure incurred on these two projects till March 2021 is Rs 195 crore and budget provision for 2021-22 is Rs 790 crore,” it also said.
The ministry said that the Rs 20,000 crore is a gross rough estimate of all the planned development and redevelopment works which include the new parliament building chambers for MPs, the Central Vista Avenue, the Common Central Secretariat, Central Conference Centre, additional buildings for National Archives (other than Heritage Building), new IGNCA building, facilities for security officials, and official residences for VP and PM of India, Executive Enclave with Prime Minister’s Office, Cabinet Secretariat, National Security Council Secretariat, relocation of National Museum in North and South Blocks, etc.
This also includes relocation and transfer of hutments in around 90 acres to newly built locations. All these projects are planned in a phased and sequential manner till 2026, it said.