Telangana begins demolition of old secretariat complex, opposition protests
As the demolition exercise began, the Hyderabad police cordoned off all the routes leading to the secretariat and imposed traffic restrictions for about a kilometre radius from the work site by erecting barricades.Updated: Jul 07, 2020 18:01 IST
The Telangana government on Tuesday started demolition of the state secretariat buildings in Hyderabad to pave way for the construction of an ultra-modern and Vastu-compliant official complex at a cost of Rs 400 crore.
According to a brief statement from the chief minister’s office, a new design for the proposed secretariat complex with six lakh square feet built up area was approved by chief minister K Chandrasekhar Rao after discussion with senior officials. The design was released to the media later in the day.
The demolition work started in the early hours with C Block, also known as Samatha, that housed the chief minister’s office till recently and it continued till evening. All the official departments from the secretariat complex had already been shifted to another official complex Burgula Rama Krishna Rao Bhavan during the last year itself.
“The demolition is expected to be completed within a couple of days and after clearing the rubble, the entire area would be readied for the construction of the new complex, the work on which is expected to commence with the onset of auspicious month of Sravanam in the third week of July,” an official familiar with the developments said.
As the demolition exercise began, the Hyderabad police cordoned off all the routes leading to the secretariat and imposed traffic restrictions for about a kilometre radius from the work site by erecting barricades.
It was on June 29 that the Telangana high court gave the green signal for the construction of the new secretariat complex in place of existing one, stating that the judiciary would not interfere in the policy decisions of the government.
Telangana Congress president N Uttam Kumar Reddy described the demolition exercise as a black day in the history of Telangana. He said the Telangana government was spending crores of rupees of public money to satisfy the Vastu belief of the chief minister.
“KCR was hell bent on demolishing the secretariat only because of his penchant for Vastu. He thought the Vastu of the existing complex was not suitable for him and that was why he had never entered the secretariat after taking over as the chief minister,” the PCC chief said.
State BJP official spokesman K Krishna Sagar Rao strongly protested the action of the TRS government and accused it of demolishing the secretariat buildings for false prestige of KCR even as the country and state are in the midst of the coronavirus pandemic.
“The state is in the middle of a serious public health crisis with a spike in Covid-19 positive cases and people are dying due to lack of medical support and hospital beds since the last few weeks. Every other state is building hospitals and expanding their bed count, while KCR is demolishing existing infrastructure which could be very well turned into a makeshift hospital to meet the existing demand for hospital beds,” Rao said.
Spread over 25.5 acres, the secretariat complex facing the picturesque Hussain Sagar lake on the eastern side has been serving as the highest seat of administration since the 1950s.
The complex was originally a huge palace – known as Saifabad Palace - constructed by Nawab Mahboob Ali Khan, the sixth Nizam of Hyderabad, in 1889.
The “G” block was the main palace of the Nizam. Though Mahboob Ali Khan did not stay there, it was later converted into the chief minister’s office after the formation of Andhra Pradesh. It housed the CMO till the regime of NT Rama Rao in 1994, who later moved into the C block.
There were nine other blocks constructed during the Nizam period and they later housed several government departments after the complex was converted into the secretariat. New blocks came up in their places – a swanky D Block was constructed in 2003 and two other blocks in 2012.