Thal Sena Bhawan Indian Armys New Headquarters to be Ready in Next 5 Years
Defence Minister Rajnath Singh on Friday laid the foundation stone of the Army headquarters’ new building Thal Sena Bhawan in Delhi Cantonment and asserted that the world now recognises India among powerful nations.
Christened ‘Thal Sena Bhawan’, the multi-storeyed complex is designed “like a rising sun” and it will be spread over nearly 39 acres, officials said.
“We have laid the first stone of the new Sena Bhawan. It will represent the unsung heroes of the armed forces who have sacrificed their lives for the country,” Singh told a gathering at the ceremony.
The defence minister said the world now recognises that India is a not a “weak India, but it stands among the powerful nations globally” and the credit for that goes to “our brave soldiers and the jawans who have made sacrifices”.
The Army headquarters is currently housed in the iconic South Block at Raisina Hill in Lutyens’ Delhi.
The new department of military affairs headed by the chief of defence staff (CDS) will be housed in this new building, Singh said.
The defence minister also performed ”bhoomipujan” (ground-breaking) ceremony at the venue, in the vicinity of the Manekshaw Centre.
The ground-breaking ceremony began with inter-faith prayers as four religious teachers, representing the four main religions of India, read lines from their sacred texts, wishing prosperity and well being for the building that will come up and people who will work in it.
Singh said the desire of soldiers who laid down their lives was not that people would know and recognise them, but “their only desire was that India should be a capable and a powerful country”.
This foundation stone will serve as a source of inspiration for others, he said.
“Due to our brave soldiers, our country is known as a capable and a powerful one, and India has the capacity and strength to face big challenges,” the defence minister said.
Army Chief Gen M M Naravane, defence personnel and a large number of jawans were also present on the occasion.
“It will take at least about three-four years for the new building to come up,” the army chief said on the sidelines of the event.
The office of the army chief is also located in the imposing South Block which is part of the historic Raisina Hill complex built during the colonial era as part of the “new imperial capital” of the British Raj.
The cost of the project will be in excess of ₹700 cr, a senior official said.
The Defence Ministry in a statement later said the building, expected to be constructed in five years, will house offices, residential complex for security personnel with basic amenities.
“More than 1,700 officers — both military and civilian — and 1,300 sub staff will be accommodated in the new building,” it said.
The new complex has been conceptualised as a multi-storey green building, adopting Green Rating for Integrated Habitat Assessment (GRIHA) norms. Approximately 7.5 lakh sqm of area will be constructed to house the office complex and parking, the ministry said.
Presently, the Army Headquarters functioning is spread over several pockets like South Block, Sena Bhawan, hutments area, R K Puram and Shankar Vihar, it said.
Singh in his address also said that the need for a centralised office space for army had been felt for many years. “There were eight locations where offices are being run. Now it can function under one roof,” he said.
He observed that there is movement of about 3,000-4,000 vehicles every day from various army establishments in the city and this would be not required once the ‘Thal Sena Bhawan’ comes up.
The North Block and South Block, Viceroy’s House (now Rashtrapati Bhavan) and Parliament House, surrounded by a lush green landscape and imposing fountains, were built during the construction of New Delhi that started in 1912.
“The new building complex will also have 250 security personnel for whom lodging facility will be there on the campus. The building will comply to ‘prestigious norms’ and have a GRIHA-5 rating. It will have three entry-cum-exit points — NH-44, Parade Road and Link Road,” the senior official said.
There will be parking for 4,000 cars, he said.
Singh said, having a centralised office will lead to reduction in number of cars, and “many persons could even walk to the new Bhawan”, which will help address the issue of pollution too.
At present, the South Block houses the prime minister’s office and ministries of defence and external affairs, while the North Block has offices of the home and finance ministries. The two blocks fall under a very high-security zone.
Both the blocks, which symbolise the government authority since their inception in Lutyens’ Delhi, are likely to be converted into a museum as part of the government’s Central Vista Redevelopment project, officials in the Union Housing and Urban Affairs Ministry had said in January.
The housing ministry is the nodal agency for the ambitious redevelopment project of the Modi government.
The officials had said that people would have access to the North and the South blocks once they are turned into museums.