Soon after the Telangana High Court’s approval to build a new Secretariat, the K Chandrasekhar Rao (KCR) led government promptly initiated the demolition of the existing structure in the early hours of Tuesday. On June 29, the High Court had dismissed the Public Interest Litigations challenging the construction of the new Secretariat by demolishing the existing structure.
On Tuesday, police cordoned off the roads surrounding the Secretariat and diverted the traffic as the demolition was taking place. Traffic was diverted from Imax Road, Ravindra Bharati, Himayat Nagar and Basheer Bagh. Police also closed the Telugu Talli flyover near the Secretariat.
According to Roads and Buildings officials, the demolition will continue for another 15 days.
The Chief Minister’s office released a photo of the proposed design of the new building to the media. However, the design is yet to be approved. It is speculated that the works for the new structure will begin from July 21.
The proposed design of the new Secretariat
Meanwhile, the TRS government’s move drew severe flak from Opposition parties.
Telangana Congress chief and MP Uttam Kumar Reddy questioned the necessity of the demolition when the state was suffering from the COVID-19 crisis. “The Chief Minister has prioritised his whims over the sufferings of the people. During such a financial crisis, when employees are not getting full salary and when farmers are not getting loan waivers, is this new building necessary now?” Uttam slammed.
Condemning the demolition, Telangana BJP spokesperson Krishna Saagar Rao tweeted, “While Chief Ministers across the country are busy building and expanding infrastructure to accommodate COVID-19 patients, unfortunately Telangana state has a Chief Minister who is busy demolishing the existing infrastructure, which can easily be turned into a massive facility.”
Rao added, “Telangana state is now rated as the second highest in the rate of infection, while it stands at number one position in conducting the lowest number of COVID-19 tests in its population category. CM KCR seems to be hardly worried and untouched by these alarming statistics.”
Accusing the Chief Minister of being “incompetent” and “incapable”, Rao said that the CM has prioritised his own whims and fancies over public health in the state, by brazenly demolishing the old secretariat buildings.
Earlier in June 2019, KCR laid the foundation for the new Secretariat and Assembly. The government had stated that the estimated cost for the new Secretariat would be around Rs 400 crore and another Rs 100 crore for the construction of the new Assembly building.