Uttam condemns Secretariat demolition, calls it ‘Black Day’

Hyderabad: Telangana Pradesh Congress Committee (TPCC) President & Nalgonda MP Capt. N. Uttam Kumar Reddy has strongly condemned the demolition of the old Secretariat building and described the move as ‘very sad’ and highly disappointing in present circumstances. 

Addressing a press conference, along with other senior leaders at his residence in Banjara Hills on Tuesday, Uttam Kumar Reddy said that this day would be remembered as the Black Day in the history of Telangana as a ‘Tughlaq Administration’ has demolished the Secretariat only to satisfy the superstitious beliefs of an individual (Chief Minister K. Chandrashekhar Rao). He said that the move amounts to playing with the lives of over four crore people of Telangana State. He said the courts intervene when the government fails to act as per the law. However, in the case of Secretariat demolition, people faced disappointment from the judiciary.

Uttam Kumar Reddy said that the verdict of the High Court permitting construction of the new Secretariat building was challenged in the Supreme Court and the matter was to be heard on Wednesday. However, the old structure was demolished in a midnight operation only to nullify the possible stay by the Supreme Court. He questioned the need for a new Secretariat when the state government was unable to pay full salaries to its staff, pension amount to retired persons, waive off promised crop loans, provide Unemployment Allowance to youth or give fee reimbursement to students. He claimed that economic difficulties were being created for the people of Telangana only to facilitate a lavish lifestyle for KCR’s family.  

Stating that many blocks in the old Secretariat were newly constructed and in extremely good condition, he alleged that the new structure was being constructed to benefit the contractors with a Rs. 1,000 crore deal. He said that the demand by the Congress party to use the old Secretariat as a temporary corona hospital or quarantine centre was also not considered. 

The TPCC Chief also slammed Chief Secretary Somesh Kumar and said that the latter was not entitled to be on the top post as he belongs to the Andhra Pradesh cadre. He said Somesh Kumar was made the Chief Secretary by sidelining 20 other senior officials. As a show of gratitude to the Chief Minister, Somesh Kumar was not acting like the head of bureaucracy, but acting as per the whims and fancies of the Chief Minister. He also mentioned that the Chief Secretary violated the Constitution by not attending the meeting convened by Governor Dr. Tamilisai Soundararajan at the Secretariat. 

Uttam Kumar Reddy blamed KCR’s negligence, ignorance and incompetence for the deteriorating pandemic situation in Telangana, especially Hyderabad. He said there was a huge contradiction in the corona figures being released by the Health Department with the actual situation prevailing in the State. The real numbers were very higher than what are being shown officially. Stating that Telangana was about to witness a ‘Corona explosion,’ he alleged that KCR has been caught cheating the people of Telangana by way of under-testing and under-reporting in violation of guidelines. “Despite the fact that Coronavirus cases have officially crossed 25,000 mark while the death toll has crossed the 300 mark, the Chief Minister is missing from the scene,” Reddy accused.

He alleged that a few IAS and IPS officials have forgotten their constitutional duties and they must act as per law in the interest of the general public. He urged the officials to do a serious introspection of their behaviour and focus on performing their duties in accordance with the rules.

The TPCC Chief also condemned KCR for not responding to the demand for inclusion of Corona in the Aarogyasri scheme. Further, he said that the testing rate in Telangana continues to be low despite the situation turning alarming with each passing day. He praised Andhra Pradesh Chief Minister Y.S. Jagan Mohan Reddy for conducting over 10 lakh tests in his State and said that only 1.22 lakh tests were conducted in Telangana till Monday. He asked as to why it was difficult for the State Government to conduct tests at a massive scale so that all patients could be traced and treated which would help further spread of the disease.

Congress MLC T. Jeevan Reddy was asked about how Chief Minister K. Chandrashekhar Rao was running the administration from quarantine. While people are battling with the Coronavirus, the Chief Minister is focussed on building a new building for the Secretariat. He alleged that KCR was acting in an insane manner due to his ‘Vaasthu phobia.’ He said instead of demolishing the present structure, the State Government could have constructed a new Secretariat near the Outer Ring Road. 

Former Minister Mohammed Ali Shabbir appreciated the Governor for responding to grievances expressed by the people regarding the COVID-19 situation through social media and holding meetings with the concerned officials to review the situation. However, he condemned the Chief Secretary for refusing to attend the Governor’s meeting. He urged the Governor to invoke Section-8 of the Andhra Pradesh Reorganisation Act to exercise her powers in the jurisdiction of Greater Hyderabad and declare Health Emergency in view of the deteriorating situation due to rising number of Coronavirus cases.  

Congress MLA  D. Sridhar Babu questioned the rationale behind demolition of Secretariat buildings late at night. He also urged the Governor to exercise her powers and take control over the situation. He said that the police foiled the protest by Congress leaders on the allegation that they were violating corona guidelines. He asked whether the assembling of GHMC and police personnel in large numbers since last night around the Secretariat was in accordance with the guidelines. 

Congress MLA Jagga Reddy referred to the death of a Congress councillor Ghousia Begum due to Coronavirus and said she died due to lack of basic oxygen facilities in Sangareddy hospitals and her relatives were forced to her from one hospital to another which deteriorated her condition. He said the claims being made by the State Government regarding facilities in Gandhi Hospital were false as the hospital does not have a sufficient amount of doctors, staff or ventilators. He said if a Councillor could not get timely treatment for the disease, then the condition of common people could be imagined. He demanded that the State Government make arrangements for one lakh ventilators in view of rising number of cases in the State.