Hyderabad: Amid protests by opposition parties and ignoring appeals by descendants of a noble family to save a heritage building, Telangana Chief Minister K. Chandrashekhar Rao on Thursday laid the foundation stone for the new Secretariat and Legislature complexes.
While the new Secretariat complex will be built at a cost of Rs4 billion by demolishing existing structures near Hussain Sagar lake, the Legislature complex will come up at Errum Manzil, a family palace built by Nawab Fakrul Mulk, a noble of the erstwhile Hyderabad state.
The legal heirs of Fakrul Mulk have appealed to KCR, as Rao as popularly known, not to demolish the historical and heritage structure, built over 150 years ago.
Members of Fakhrul Mulk Legal Heirs’ Association have urged KCR to spare the structure so that it can be preserved for posterity.
The Association’s Secretary and Fakhrul Mulk’s great-grandson Sahafath Ali Khan, who is also a celebrity hunter, differed with the view that the building is in dilapidated condition.
He suggested that the state government preserve the heritage structure to receive foreign dignitaries visiting Hyderabad. “It can be built on the lines of Hyderabad House in New Delhi,” he said.
In the past Errum Manzil was used to host royal banquets and to receive Viceroys and Governors-general. The legal heirs of Fakhrul Mulk said if the building was demolished Hyderabad would lose another key heritage structure.
The building, located in the heart of the city, currently houses the office of Roads and Buildings Department.
KCR along with Assembly Speaker P. Srinivas Reddy and his cabinet colleagues laid the foundation stone for the Legislature Secretariat, housing both Assembly and Council. It will be built at a cost of Rs1 billion.
Earlier, he laid foundation stone for the new Secretariat complex. He performed ‘bhoomi puja’ near D’ block in the existing premises.
The Congress, Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) and other opposition parties are opposing construction of new Secretariat and Legislature, saying this would put unnecessary burden on state exchequer as the existing structures are sound and stable.
Police detained a group of BJP leaders and activists planning to march Secretariat to stage a protest. BJP’s Hyderabad unit President Ramachandra Rao was among those detained.
Senior Congress leader V. Hanumantha Rao was kept under house arrest to prevent him from organising any protest.
The new Secretariat, housing the seat of governance, will have 5-6 lakh square feet space and will be built at a cost of Rs4 billion.
KCR had earlier planned to build the new Secretariat at Bison Polo Grounds, a defence land in Secunderabad but the Centre was not willing to part with it.
The proposal for state Secretariat at Bison Polo Grounds and part of Gymkhana was also opposed by environmentalists, sportspersons and opposition parties. Some of them had even approached the court to challenge the government move.
With the Centre showing no signs to accept the proposal, KCR gave up the idea. The Andhra Pradesh government last week handed back four blocks at the existing Secretariat to Telangana, paving the way for construction of new complex.
All the offices of Ministers, Secretaries and other senior officers will be shifted to different buildings till construction of the new complex, officials said.
All 10 blocks spread over 25 acres will be demolished to construct new complex. One of the blocks constructed by Nizam, the ruler of erstwhile Hyderabad State, carries heritage tag. Though other buildings were built during last couple of decades, the government says they were built without following safety norms.