In an operation that literally caught the citizens napping, the K Chandrasekhara Rao government in Telangana demolished the Secretariat buildings during wee hours on Tuesday (7 July).
The demolition was carried out without any notice being given in advance to anyone among the general public. The decision was carried out secretly since the Rao government did not want any protest against the demolition, especially by the Opposition parties.
The demolition, which will now pave way for a new Secretariat at a cost of Rs 500 crore, was carried out after the Chief Minister gave his clearance on Monday night.
His clearance came after a meeting in which Chief Secretary Somesh Kumar and Director-General of Police M Mahendar Reddy took part. Interestingly, the demolition began with the knocking down of the block that housed Rao’s office.
The Secretariat is spread over 25.5 acres and has been functioning from the early 1950s. The G Block in the secretariat contains a building from which the Nizam of Hyderabad looked after his administration.
Since 1952, nine more blocks have been added, including the D block that came up in the early 2000s. The built-up area of the secretariat is over 9.10 lakh sq ft.
After Andhra Pradesh was bifurcated with a separate Telangana State being formed, the Andhra Pradesh government occupied five blocks totaling 5.31 lakh sq ft . Telangana occupied the rest.
Luck smiled on Telangana last year after Y S Jaganmohan Reddy was elected Andhra Pradesh Chief Minister. Reddy handed over the buildings occupied by his government to Rao’s administration.
This helped Telangana speed up its process to construct a new Secretariat with Rao laying the foundation stone for the new complex on 27 June last year.
The foundation laying ceremony resulted in legal disputes with the Telangana High Court staying demolition of the old Secretariat.
The Telangana government contended that the buildings in the Secretariat were dilapidated and some of them did not conform to fire safety norms.
On 29 June, the Telangana High Court declined to intervene with demolition of the Secretariat and this cleared the way for a new Secretariat.
A Chennai-based architect has designed the new Secretariat complex that will have five floors with the building facing the Hussainsagar lake. The new secretariat will have a built-up area of six lakh sq ft.
The demolition work is in full swing with heavy machinery being used and it is expected to be complete in a week. Police have cordoned off the area, while Secretariat staff have been asked to work from various alternative buildings.
Construction of the new Secretariat is expected to begin after July 15 when the auspicious Shravan month of the Hindu calendar sets in.
M.R. Subramani is Executive Editor, Swarajya. He tweets @mrsubramani
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