Centre to hand over defence land for construction of new secretariat: KCR
Hyderabad: Putting an end to months of speculation, Telangana chief minister K. Chandrasekhar Rao has finally confirmed that the centre had agreed to give defence land in and around Hyderabad for the construction of a new secretariat and expansion of the Medchal highway and Karimnagar Rajiv Rahadari (national highway).
The construction of a new secretariat is, however, a controversial issue and led to public protests in the city, as the state government had proposed to build it on the Bison Polo grounds (part of defence land) in Secunderabad, which is one of the few major open spaces in Hyderabad. Citizens and opposition parties have been opposing the move for many months.
“Government of India has agreed to give the defence lands for the construction of new State Secretariat and for expansion of Medchal Highway and Karimnagar Rajiv Rahadari,” a press release from Rao’s office said on Saturday.
It said the centre has examined the request from the state on the matter from all angles and decided to hand over the required land.
M. Krishank, spokesperson, Telangana Pradesh Congress Committee (TPCC), however, said that he will oppose the move to construct the new secretariat. Krishank, who is in-charge of the Secunderabad cantonment assembly seat in Hyderabad, said he will continue to mobilize public support against the state government’s decision.
Last month, Krishank and civic society activists conducted a programme titled ‘Save Bison Polo Grounds’ in the city. At present, the secretariat premises and buildings are shared by both the Telangana and Andhra Pradesh governments, as Hyderabad is the joint capital for both states until 2024.
Most AP departments have already shifted to Velugapudi near Vijayawada, where a new temporary secretariat has been built.
The other defence lands required by the state government are meant for constructing flyovers from two points in Secunderabad and to connect to the Outer Ring Road and the Bowenpally area to ease traffic in the city.
Although Rao said the Centre had agreed to hand over the defence land, Telangana Bharatiya Janata Party spokesperson Krishna Saagar Rao said no assurances had been given by the centre, except that it will look into the matter. “Allotment letters should have been issued then. KCR has other priorities which he is sidelining. Farmers are suffering, agriculture is deteriorating and the state is in deep debt. We strongly object to this splurge of public money,” he said.