In a last ditch attempt to save Bison Polo and Gymkhana Ground in Secunderabad, Bison Polo & Gymkhana Protection Forum - a group resisting the state government's plan to construct a new Secretariat – has written an open letter to both the Telangana government and Centre appealing to withdraw their plans. The forum threatened to organise protests if the state government doesn't pay heed to their plea.
Objecting Chief Minister K Chandrasekhar Rao's plans to construct the Secretariat, the forum wrote, "Our city is suffering from the consequences of mass destruction, leading to global warming and the temperature of Hyderabad has gone up sharply adversely affecting the population. (sic)"
The forum also pointed out that the open ground is also a water harvesting area which prevents the ground water level from plummeting in Secunderabad area.
"We need to save the last area of open greenery and lung space for us and for the future generations, rather than making our city unlivable with more construction debris and traffic congestion," they wrote.
The protest meet held by the Forum at Somajiguda Press Club on Monday comes a day ahead of a scheduled hearing at the Telangana High Court in Hyderabad over the issue.
Two Public Interest Litigations (PILs) are being heard by the court on the matter, including one by ex-DGP MV Bhaskara Rao, former cricketer Vivek Jaisimha, war veteran and squadron leader Anil Bhalla and chartered accountant Turlapati Bharadwaj.
During the previous hearing on January 29, the Centre had said that they had given 'in-principle' approval for the takeover of the ground, but the deal wasn't finalized. The court had said then that the State and Centre can continue negotiations any construction could not be taken up until the next hearing on February 12.
Though Telangana has a Secretariat near Tank bund, Chief Minister KCR is insisting on a new Secretariat, allegedly due to superstitious reasons.
Earlier in 2015, the CM had initially planned to construct the Secretariat in Erragadda by shifting the existing TB and Chest Hospital to Vikarabad district. However, faced with severe flak, KCR proposed a deal with the Ministry of Defence (MoD) asking for the Bison Polo and Gymkhana ground. In exchange for the 55-acre ground, KCR offered 596-acre land in Jawahar Nagar, which is in the city’s outskirts. Besides the land transfer he also offered a one-time compensation of Rs 95 crore and an additional payment of Rs 31 crore to the Secunderabad Cantonment Board (SCB) which falls under the MoD.