No going back on building New secretariat complex: CM

Chief Minister K. Chandrasekhar Rao made it amply clear that the State Government was determined to go ahead with its proposal to construct a new Secretariat complex at Bison Polo Grounds in Secunderabad and that there was no question of going back in this aspect come what may.

Intervening during question hour in Telangana Assembly on Wednesday, the Chief Minister also disclosed that when he had discussed the State government’s plans to construct a new Secretariat, even Prime Minister Narendra Modi had hailed and congratulated him for this. Once the Central government accords permission as sought by the State, construction of the new Secretariat at the Bison Polo Grounds would be taken up and the PM would be requested to lay foundation stone, he added.

Stoutly refuting the claims being made by the Chief Minister in going for a new Secretariat and the adamant attitude being adopted in this sensitive aspect, the BJP members expressed their protest and staged a walk out. 

An emotionally surcharged Chief Minister explained at length the compelling reasons behind the State Government’s decision to go in for a new Secretariat complex. Of the 29 States having Secretariat in the country, the worst one was only in Telangana State. “Our Secretariat was constructed by the earlier regimes in a haphazard manner without any plans or permissions.

KCR further explained that not one building in the present Secretariat was in conformity with rules and regulations. The Chief Minister’s block is in a worst condition. There is no fire safety to any building or block. In the event of any mishap, it would be a Herculean task for fire engines to reach the spot on time. A Secretariat reflects the image and prestige of the State. But it is less said the better about our Secretariat, he lamented and added that even Telangana State should have a Secretariat that would not only reflect but enhance the image, culture and tradition of the State.

Present Secretariat not convenient

Detailing the sorry state of fairs of the present Secretariat, the Chief Minister said construction of  various blocks were taken up without any vision or plans. The HoD offices were scattered everywhere. When review meetings were held, it would be very difficult to get any file if left behind in the office. As a matter of fact, when a teleconference was being conducted it takes a long time and there was no place for the officials to have even lunch and the officers were taken to a nearby hotel, the Chief Minister pointed out.

KCR also explained the drawback and difficulties being encountered on various aspects in the present Assembly premises. He narrated the problems being faced by the ministers, legislators and officials in going from Assembly premises to the Council. Even the constructions of these were taken up without any foresight. Though Telangana is endowed with rich traditional art and culture, the State is lacking a proper serving cultural centre except the present Ravindra Bharathi. The State should have a better and prestigious “Kala Bhavan” in tune with its cultural heritage, he observed. 

The Chief Minister said keeping all these aspects in mind and with an endeavour to have a prestigious, historic and memorable structure, the government planned to go in for the new Secretariat on the Bison Polo Grounds apart from taking up construction of a modern Assembly premises, HoD offices and a cultural centre. The Bison and the adjacent Gymkhana Grounds together would be about 72 acres. This area could be made use of for building the new Secretariat and other complexes. Along with the construction of these structures, even the highways would be developed accordingly, he added.

KCR pooh-poohed the claim of the BJP members that the construction of a new Secretariat at the Bison Polo grounds would not only take away the limited lung space available in Secunderabad, but would also affect many sports activities. There are 19 playgrounds and stadia in the twin cities, but none of them are being put to full use. What are the sports activities in Gachibowli Stadium? Now it’s being used for marriage functions. Also the 14-storeyed building there was lying vacant and not being used.

Secunderabad Cantt area unique

As a matter of fact, for any sports activities or playgrounds, 200 acres of land was available in the nearby Hakimpet, he pointed. Speaking about the Cantonment area, the Chief Minister said of the 54 cantonment areas in the country, the Secunderabad cantonment is unique and has a history of its own. He explained that during then Nizam’s regime under the British rule in the country, the Secunderbad Cantonment was set up in order to have a military presence. The lands in Secunderabad cantonment have not been transferred to the Defence establishment and even today those lands stand in the name of Telangana State, he added.

Referring to the BJP members questioning the government the need for going for a new Secretariat when one is already there and that too at time when attention should be focused on building hostels for BCs, minorities and others, the Chief Minister that the once the new Secretariat complex comes into being, the present premises would be put to use for better purposes like constructing hostels and so on.

Pointing out that like Vidhan Soudha in Bangalore, which is a landmark of Karnataka State, the Chief Minister said even Telangana State‘s endeavour was to have its own historic land mark in the form of the proposed new Secretariat, Assembly, HoD and Kala Bhavan at one place. “We will go ahead with the proposal at any cost and there was no question of rethinking in this regard. If need be, we will take the issue to not only the Supreme Court but also to the People’s court, he declared. (NSS)