An online petition against the Telangana government's proposed move to construct a brand new Secretariat at the Bison Polo ground in Secunderabad is gathering steam.
At the time of writing, the petition addressed to Telangana Chief Minister K Chandrasekhar Rao, has managed to collect close to 2,500 signatures.
"55 acres of history, and most importantly the environment is under threat after K Chandrasekhar Rao (KCR) wants to build a new Secretariat at the Bison Polo and Gymkhana Grounds. Citing 'Vastu' reasons, he wishes to vacate the existing Secretariat. Let us request him to drop the idea of building a concrete jungle, by cutting down thousands of trees," the petition appeals.
The online campaign was kick started by M Krishank, a Congress leader, and spokesperson of the TPCC.
However, Krishank insists that the movement is beyond politics.
"My aim is not to politicise the issue. It is a citizen campaign, and most of the signatories to the petition are citizens, who are concerned about the ground," Krishank tells TNM.
"The response has been great. I have been flooded with comments since the petition went up. Not just from the city, many people from across the country and the world have written about the connection and bond that they share with Secunderabad, and the Bison Polo ground," he adds.
Last week, Krishank and others, protested at the venue, holding placards of 'Save Bison Polo Grounds'.
The citizens also came equipped with wrist bands that read 'Save Bison Polo', and handed them to people passing through the area, seeking their support for the movement.
Those gathered, greeted NCC cadets, Army officials, motorists and even policemen, and gifted them the green wristbands.
"Everyone that I spoke to, was astonished. They all echoed that there was no need for a new Secretariat when the existing one is perfectly fine. Secondly, the loss of green space to the city would be enormous," Krishank says.
Highlighting his claim that the issue went beyond politics, several prominent personalities including TDP MLA Revanth Reddy and TJAC Chairman Kodandaram have extended support to Krishank's campaign.
Congress leaders including TPCC President Uttam Kumar Reddy, TPCC working president Mallu Bhatti Vikramarka and former minister Danam Nagender have also sported the green band.
"The present Secretariat has ample space, and no one has raised any traffic complaints in the area either. If KCR really wants to address the issue, he should convene an all-party meeting, interact with citizens, and take their opinions into consideration too," Krishank adds.
For a few months now, KCR has openly been eyeing the land in Gymkhana Ground and Bison Polo Ground, for constructing a 'vastu-compliant' Secretariat, Legislature and a cultural centre on the premises.
He announced that the state government would be taking over the land this week, after a visit to New Delhi, to meet Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Defence Minister Arun Jaitley last month.
KCR also said that the Centre had agreed to transfer defence lands to the state, for the construction of flyovers, as part of its Strategic Road Development Programme (SRDP).
The SRDP is part of the state's plan to construct multi-layer flyovers over 20 junctions in the city to decongest traffic in Hyderabad.
"As far as the SRDP flyover is concerned, he is constructing the flyover so that he can travel to his farmhouse (in Erravelli village) with ease. The Trimulgherry junction is the only bottleneck in that entire stretch, while all other roads are fine. There are many other places that he can build the flyover instead," Krishank alleges.
Despite being faced with several such protests, KCR remains uncompromising on his decision.
During a recent press conference, the CM touched on the issue, and reiterated his claim, that, "There are nearly 500 acres dedicated to sports grounds and facilities and most of them are not being used for sports."
Naming a few stadiums near Gachibowli, the CM said, "This is nothing but to create hurdles for the construction of a state-of-the-art Secretariat and Assembly."
The petition on Change.org can be found here.