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Demolition work of historic secretariat building in Telangana begins

Hyderabad: The Chandrashekhar Rao-led dispensation in Telangana on Tuesday began razing of the old secretariat building complex here, which has stood the test of time and witnessed the rise and fall of several governments.

The move comes days after the Telangana High Court dismissed a bunch of PILs challenging the state's decision to construct a new secretariat complex here by demolishing the existing one. "The demolition of the secretariat building began during wee hours of Tuesday and it will go on today," official sources said.

Opposition parties including the Congress and BJP slammed the state government for taking up the project at a time when handling COVID-19 pandemic should be its immediate priority.

The ruling party, however, maintained that the demolition began after a stay on the matter was vacated by the High Court and that the state requires a well-planned secretariat.

The chief minister's office on Tuesday released the elevation design of the proposed "integrated secretariat new building,"which would come up at the existing site. The communication from Rao's office said he may approve the design. Rao laid the foundation stone for the new administrative complex on June 27 last year.

However, later some public interest litigations (PIL) were filed in the High Court against the construction of the new one alleging that it would cause unnecessary burden on the state's exchequer.

Earlier, the state government had indicated that the new secretariat, which would come up in about four lakh sq-ft would cost around Rs 400 crore and it had decided to equip the new building with state-of-the-art connectivity and other features.

According to government sources, the new secretariat will be fully "Vaastu compliant."

Noting that several buildings in the existing complex were builteight years ago, State Congress president N Uttam Kumar Reddy said they could have been used temporarily as a COVID-19 hospital.

"We all (Congress leaders) served as ministers. Many buildings there are new. They were completed in 2012-13...," he told reporters. The Congress leader claimed that adequate medical facilities, including beds and ventilators, are not available in hospitals in Hyderabad. Alleging that the TRS government's actions reminds of "a Nero, a Tughlak," State BJP president and Lok Sabha member Bandi Sanjay Kumar said the CM was making plans for demolition of secretariat and designing contracts at a time when people were facing enormous difficulties due to spread of COVID-19.

Chief Spokesperson of Telangana BJP, K Krishna Saagar Rao in a statement said the party strongly protests the 'atrocious action' of the TRS government in demolishing the old secretariat buildings for false prestige of KCR in the midst of a global pandemic crisis.

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