A day after Telangana Chief Minister K Chandrasekhar Rao officially announced that the state government would go ahead with its plans of building a new Secretariat complex at Bison Polo Ground, protesters and police locked horns at the spot on Thursday evening.
Led by members of the Telangana Pradesh Congress Committee (TPCC), several people protested at the Ground, against the move, that would rob the city of green cover, and lung space.
Police stopped protesters from entering into the ground, which triggered mild tension.
In a symbolic protest, the Congress leaders even carried an effigy of the Telangana CM to the spot, and went on to hang it on one of the trees located on the ground.
â€œWe had hung the effigy of the chief minister. This was a symbolic protest. The chief minister is playing havoc with the environment.The city needs more lung spaces. But the government is depriving people of the ex isting ones. The greenery will be lost forever. Bison Polo grounds is part of Hyderabad's heritage and it should be protected for the posterity.Moreover, KCR is giving preference to 'Vasthu' instead of good governance. Construction of a new Secretariat will only benefit contractors,â€œ TPCC spokesperson Krishank told the Times of India.
Those detained by the police were later taken to the Begumpet Police Station.
For a few months now, KCR has openly been eyeing the land in Gymkhana Ground and Bison Polo Ground, for constructing a 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.
When asked about apprehensions by citizens that the new Secretariat will result in the city losing an open sports ground, he said, "There are nearly 500 acres dedicated for sports grounds and facilities and most of them are not being used for sports. In fact, Gachibowli indoor stadium is being used for hosting weddings."
However, activists are still not satisfied with his claims, and say that there is no need for a new Secretariat in the city.
KCR also said that the Centre had agreed to transfer defence lands to the state, for 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.