The central government on Tuesday clarified that while it had given an 'in-principle' approval for the takeover of the Bison Polo Ground and Gymkhana Ground by the Telangana government to construct its new Secretariat, the deal was not final yet. Submitting its stand in the Telangana High Court, the Centre also said that the compensation for the land transfer was still being worked out.
A division bench comprising Chief Justice T B Radhakrishnan and Justice A. Rajasekhar Reddy was dealing with two Public Interest Litigations (PILSs) which had been filed against the state's plans, including one by ex-DGP MV Bhaskara Rao, former cricketer Vivek Jaisimha, war veteran and squadron leader Anil Bhalla and chartered accountant Turlapati Bharadwaj.
According to media reports, Union Finance Minister Arun Jaitley in 2017 had said that the Centre wanted around 596 acres of land in Jawahar Nagar at the outskirts of Hyderabad to be transferred to the Ministry of Defence (MoD) besides a one-time compensation of Rs 95 crore and an additional payment of Rs 31 crore to the Secunderabad Cantonment Board (SCB) to make up for its revenue loss in giving up the twin grounds.
After hearing both sides, the court stated that there was no need to issue a stay order, adding that the state government and union government could continue their negotiations, but asked them not to begin any construction work on the ground. The case will come up for hearing again on February 12.
KCR has been considering the land in Gymkhana Ground and Bison Polo Ground, for constructing a new Secretariat, Legislature and a cultural centre on the premises.
Critics have suggested that the Chief Minister is shifting the building, only to make it 'vastu-compliant'. They also contend that there was no need for a new Secretariat, as the existing one next to the Hussain Sagar lake, was perfectly safe and fine. Further, protesters claim that the move would kill a crucial lung space in Secunderabad.