Hyderabad: At the auspicious hour of 5.22am on Thursday, chosen by his trusted pundit and Vastu adviser, Chief Minister K. Chandrasekhar Rao, accompanied by his wife and other family members, stepped into his new home — a sprawling and magnificent residence named the Pragati Bhavan.
The complex, comprising three palatial buildings and two old ones, is spread over an area of 4 hectares.
Built at a cost of more than Rs500 million (Dh26.71 million), the complex has more than 9,290 square metres of built up area including the residential wing, the chief minister’s camp office and a huge conference hall.
An all-faith prayer meeting was also held in the new official residence in which the religious heads of all the major communities — Hindu, Muslims, Christians, Jains, Sikhs and Buddhists — participated.
The state governor ESL Narasimhan and his wife Vimala were also present on the occasion. KCR made Hindu seer Sri Ramanuja Chinna Jeeyar Swamy sit in the chair before occupying it.
KCR’s son and minister, K. Taraka Rama Rao, daughter and MP K. Kavita, nephew and minister T Harish Rao and Deputy Chief Minister Mahmood Ali were also present on the occasion of the “Griha Parvesam” or house warming.
The new complex was built on a land adjacent to the earlier official residence and camp office which was constructed in 2005 for the then Chief Minister Y.S. Rajasekhar Reddy.
But as KCR, an ardent believer in Vastu Shastara found it unsuitable, he never stepped into the camp office fearing its ill effects.
YSR had died in a helicopter crash in September 2009 while staying in the house.
After an extensive search, the chief minister’s team zeroed in on an adjacent land, belonging to the state IAS Officers Association, to build the new residential space.
All three buildings are identical in term SOF design with imposing structures in Roman Architectural style, tall pillars and beams and boast state of the art facilities and high security features such as bullet proof windows.
The conference hall has the capacity to accommodate 500 people.
His camp office has another smaller conference room with a seating capacity for 50 people.
The double stories camp office also has chambers for secretaries and staff of the Chief Minister’s secretariat.
The entire complex — built by the famous Shapoorjee Pallinjee company — has come up on four hectares. While the three buildings have come up on 4,000 square metres, the remaining area was used for other facilities such as parking and landscaping. At least 300 cars can be parked at one time.
An amount of Rs10 million (Dh534,267) was spent only on beautification of the campus by planting a large number of shadow bearing trees sources from Kadiam in Andhra Prades, which is famous for its nurseries.
Initially the project cost was estimated to be Rs330 million but was later revised to Rs500 million.
The massive security arrangements include a kilometre peripheral wall with CCTV cameras all around the complex.
The official residence of the chief minister was getting ready at a time when his other plan of demolishing the existing Secretariat buildings and replacing them with a new single tower had to be scrapped following intense protest by the opposition and the financial constraints created by the recent demonetisation move by the Centre.
However the splurging of money by the Chief Minister on a dream house for himself has come under attack from the entire opposition.
Leader of the opposition in the state legislative council, Mohammad Ali Shabbir, equated KCR with the Roman emperor Niro and termed moving in to the posh house as morally incorrect when his election promise of double bed room houses for the poor remain unfulfilled.
“Where are the houses which he promised to the poor,” Shabbir asked.
“How can he do this when people were reeling under the impact of currency crisis? The new bungalow of the CM is a fitting example of how he was deceiving the poor,” he said.
Telangana Telugu Desam working president A Revanth Reddy asked how the Chief Minister got his bungalow completed in just nine months when so many other public buildings were lying neglected and incomplete for which he had laid the foundation stones.
“Why Christian Bhavan, Banjara Bhavan and Adivasi Bhavan were not built like this,” he asked.