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In parched Telangana, KCR’s Vaastu-friendly 300 cr office closer to reality

KCR’s government released the design for the new, palatial secretariat building this week despite protests from opposition parties

india Updated: Sep 09, 2017 14:04 IST
Srinivasa Rao Apparasu
Srinivasa Rao Apparasu
Hindustan Times, Hyderabad
Telangana secretariat,vaastu,vastu
An artist’s impression of what the new Telangana secretariat will look like once it is done.(HT photo)

Telangana chief minister K Chandradeskhar Rao’s glitzy Vaastu-friendly secretariat complex is closer to reality, surpassing hurdles of land sourcing and protests from political rivals who say the project will hurt the environment and gut crucial funds.

The CM, known as KCR, is a firm believer in Vaastu, an ancient Indian system of building planning that focuses on directional alignments for harmony and good luck. His fascination with the system is such that he has a dedicated Vaastu advisor — Suddala Sudhakar Teja — who has drawn up the plan for the palatial building along with renowned Mumbai-based architects Hafeez Contractor.

Teja said the design has all Vaastu “elements that suit the ruler,”

“It is going to be 100% Vaastu complaint. We have designed the building in such a way that it will provide a healthy and good working environment that will help the chief minister in effective decision-making. There will be flow of natural energy from all sides,” he told Hindustan Times, days after the building’s design was released.

The total construction cost is estimated at Rs 300 crore, but opposition parties say spends will not be less than Rs 1,000 crore after cost of land, interiors and other infrastructure facilities are counted.

The Telangana chief minister is planning to get the foundation stone laid by Prime Minister Narendra Modi in the last week of November, when he is set to reach Hyderabad to take part in the Global Entrepreneurs Summit.

Recently, Rao met Union finance minister Arun Jaitley, who held additional charge of Defence prior to the Union Cabinet reshuffle, to urge him to handover the land at Bison Polo Ground where the new building has been planned, PTI reported. The ground was in the possession of defence ministry.

“Jaitley informed the CM that the Centre is willing to handover Bison Polo Ground for the construction of a new secretariat and required lands for the expansion of Karimnagar and Medchal highways,” a release from Rao’s office said after his meeting with Jaitely, according to PTI.

On Wednesday, KCR’s office released the new design.

Initially, the chief minister suggested the existing secretariat complex be demolished and a new complex be raised in the same place. He believed that having an administrative building facing a water body (Hussain Sagar lake) was against Vaastu.

The CM stopped going to secretariat and operated from his own camp office at Begumpet, which he got remodelled as Pragati Bhavan at a cost of Rs 50 crore last year.

“There are some serious Vaastu problems in the existing secretariat. It had no proper ventilation, greenery and enough moving space. Hence, we have decided to shift it to the new premises,” Sudhakar Teja said.

According to the designs released on Wednesday, the new Secretariat resembles the Federal Building in Chicago and the National Palace in Santo Domingo of Dominican Republic in its elevation.

“It will be a six-storeyed building with two broad wings. While chambers for the chief minister, his cabinet colleagues and secretaries will be located on one side, all the departments would be in the opposite wing. All the sections of the same department will be located at one place, so that a person doesn’t have run from one building to another to get the file cleared,” the Vaastu consultant said.

“There will be absolutely no need for using any lights and bulbs in the entire building during day time. This will save a lot of energy.”

But leaders from opposition Congress have strongly resisted the decision.

“It is a colossal waste of money, which could be better spent on welfare measures. If the Vaastu of the existing secretariat is bad, how did all the previous chief ministers of undivided Andhra operated from the same building without any hassles in the last six decades,” asked Telangana Pradesh Congress Committee president Capt N Uttam Kumar Reddy.

He said the Bison Polo Ground, where the new building is supposed to be built, should be protected since it would otherwise deprive the people of Hyderabad of their only “lung space”.

First Published: Sep 09, 2017 10:15 IST