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KCR holds meeting to finalise new Secretariat building designs

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Even as Telangana is witnessing an alarming rise in Covid-19 infections in the state, Chief Minister K Chandrasekhar Rao on Tuesday held a high-level meeting to discuss the design of the proposed Secretariat building complex with officials and architects.

At the meeting attended by state ministers and architects from Tamil Nadu Oscar and Ponni, the Chief Minister on Tuesday examined the designs proposed for the new Secretariat and deliberated on the exteriors and interiors of the buildings. The Chief Minister will finalise the design of
the new Secretariat complex which seems to be on the top of his agenda at a time the state is grappling with the growing Covid-19 cases.

Once the design is finalised, it will be tabled before the Cabinet for approval which is a given. After the Cabinet nod, tenders for the works would be invited. Thereafter, the construction of the new Secretariat complex will begin. Rao wants to leave his mark in the pages of Telangana history with the construction of new Secretariat.

Although KCR claims that the new Secretariat complex would reflect the pride of Telangana’s culture, the Opposition parties think the Chief Minister’s move to demolish the existing building and construct a new one is only to etch his name in the history of Telangana.

The new Secretariat complex will come up in the existing premises with the central government yet to clear the file on Telangana government’s plea to construct the building in Bison Polo Grounds, a major lung space for people living in Secunderabad.

The Telangana government will be spending around Rs 400-Rs 500 crore on the building designed by well-known architecture firm `Architect Hafeez Contractor’, a move sharply criticised by the Opposition parties stating that it was a wasteful expenditure of public money at a time the state is fighting the pandemic. Some Opposition leaders even likened KCR to Rome emperor Nero who is said to have fiddled when Rome was burning.

Some even advised the government to use the current Secretariat building to turn into a Covid-19 hospital. However, the KCR government was adamant. Petitions were filed in the High Court by Congress leader Revanth Reddy and retired professor P L Visheshwar Rao to halt the demolition of the old Secretariat building stating that the government has not taken required permissions to raze the building. Further, they contended that the government was spending public money for the construction of the new building.

The petitioners, through their counsels, had argued that the KCR government went ahead with the demolition of the Secretariat complex in violation of the Construction and Demolition Waste Management Rules 2016, against the Provisions of the Epidemic Diseases Act 1897 and against the provisions of the Environment Protection Act 1986, among other laws. The petitioner contended that the Environment Protection Act was being violated as the demolition did not have prior environment clearance by the central ministry concerned.

On its part, Advocate-General B S Prasad argued that environmental clearances were not required for demolition of buildings. Further, the AG had put forth arguments that the Telangana government got necessary permission from the Greater Hyderabad Municipal Corporation for demolition of the Old Secretariat building. The High Court agreed with the contention of the state government and quashed the petition filed by P L Visheswar Rao.

After putting brakes on the demolition of the Old Secretariat building in Saifabad for more than a week, the Telangana High Court had recently given a green signal to the KCR government to continue with the demolition process.

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Finally, Telangana HC allows Secretariat demolition

After putting brakes on the demolition of the Old Secretariat building in Saifabad for more than a week, the Telangana High Court on Friday once again gave a green signal to the KCR government to continue with the demolition process.

Hearing a petition filed by retired professor P L Visheshwar Rao, the High Court had halted the demolition of the old Secretariat building on July 10. The High Court again directed the Telangana government to stop the demolition works till July 15. Further, the court had extended the stay on demolition of the building till July 16. The court had earlier directed the central government to submit a reply on its stand on the environmental issues with regard to the demolition of the Secretariat complex.

The petitioner, through his counsel, had argued that the KCR government went ahead with the demolition of the Secretariat complex in violation of the Construction and Demolition Waste Management Rules 2016, against the Provisions of the Epidemic Diseases Act 1897 and against the provisions of the Environment Protection Act 1986, among other laws. The petitioner contended that the Environment Protection Act was being violated as the demolition did not have prior environment clearance by the central ministry concerned. On its part, Advocate-General B S Prasad argued that environmental clearances were not required for demolition of buildings.

Further, the AG had put forth arguments that the Telangana government got necessary permission from the Greater Hyderabad Municipal Corporation for demolition of the Old Secretariat building. The High Court agreed with the contention of the state government and quashed the petition filed by P L Visheswar Rao. However, the court directed the state government to follow all Covid-19 regulations while undertaking the demolition activity.

On June 28, the Telangana High Court gave its nod to demolish the old Secretariat building complex. Following this, the Telangana government began the demolition activity. At least 60 per cent of the old Secretariat, spread over 25.5 acres with 10 blocks, was razed to the ground. In the meanwhile, P L Visheshwar Rao filed a petition seeking the High Court directions to halt the demolition works.

The petitioner had earlier argued that the building was being demolished in violation of Covid-19 regulations. The petitioner also contended that the demolition has led to air pollution at a time the twin cities of Hyderabad and Secunderabad are seeing an alarming rise in Covid-19 cases. Such demolition has led to severe breathing problems for the residents in Saifabad area.

On Thursday, the National Green Tribunal (NGT) had issued notices to the Telangana government and the Union government over the demolition of Old Secretariat. The notices were given on a petition filed by Telangana Pradesh Congress Committee (TPCC) working president and Parliament member from Malkajgiri constituency A Revanth Reddy, who alleged that the demolition of Old Secretariat was carried out without necessary environmental clearances. He asked the KCR government as to how his administration allowed demolition of the state secretariat without taking requisite environmental clearances. In the petition to NGT, Revanth Reddy said the TRS government ignored the norms prescribed by the green tribunal.

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Secretariat demolition: NGT issues notices to ‘T’ and union govts over Revanth’s petition

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The National Green Tribunal (NGT) on Wednesday issued notices to the Telangana government and the Union government over the demolition of Old Secretariat.

The notices were given on a petition filed by Telangana Pradesh Congress Committee (TPCC) working president and Parliament member from Malkajgiri constituency A Revanth Reddy, who alleged that the demolition of Old Secretariat was carried out without necessary environmental clearances. He asked the KCR government as to how his administration allowed demolition of the state secretariat without taking requisite environmental clearances. In the petition to NGT, Revanth Reddy said the TRS government ignored the norms prescribed by the green tribunal.

On June 27, Revanth Reddy had moved the Telangana High Court opposing the demolition of Secretariat building. Revanth Reddy had appealed to the court to grant an interim stay on the demolitions since the existing buildings have structural stability and life span of over 50 years. He had contended that the state government’s decision was a waste of public exchequer.

Revanth Reddy along with Telangana Democratic Forum convenor and retired professor P L Vishweshwar Rao had moved the HC in 2019 by filing petitions questioning Telangana Cabinet’s decision to go for a new Secretariat building.

Hearing a petition filed by P L Visheshwar Rao, the High Court had put brakes on the demolition of the old Secretariat building on July 10. The High Court again directed the Telangana government to stop the demolition works till July 15. On July 15, the Telangana High Court had directed the central government to submit a reply on its stand on the environmental issues with regard to the demolition of the Secretariat complex.

On June 28, the Telangana High Court gave its nod to demolish the old Secretariat building complex. Following this, the Telangana government began the demolition activity. At least 60 per cent of the old Secretariat, spread over 25.5 acres with 10 blocks, was razed to the ground. In the meanwhile, P L Visheshwar Rao filed a petition seeking the High Court directions to halt the demolition works. The petitioner had earlier argued that the building was being demolished in violation of Covid-19 regulations. The petitioner also contended that the demolition has led to air pollution at a time the twin cities of Hyderabad and Secunderabad are seeing an alarming rise in Covid-19 cases. Such demolition has led to severe breathing problems for the residents in Saifabad area.

This is the second time Revanth Reddy has moved the NGT. Earlier, he moved the NGT alleging that IT Minister and Chief Minister K Chandrasekhar Rao’s son K T Rama Rao had built a farmhouse in Janwada in Ranga Reddy district in violation of environmental norms. He had sought a probe into the alleged illegal farm house. However, KTR had moved the Telangana High Court seeking a stay on the NGT probe. On its part, the Telangana High Court stayed the NGT orders seeking a probe into illegal construction of the said farm house.

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Telangana HC refers Secretariat demolition to centre

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In a new twist to the demolition of the Old Secretariat building in Saifabad, the Telangana High Court on wednesday directed the central government to submit a reply on its stand on the environmental issues with regard to the demolition of the Secretariat complex.

Hearing a petition filed by retired professor P L Visheshwar Rao, the High Court once again extended the stay on demolition of Old Secretariat building till July 16. The petitioner, through his counsel, contended that the KCR government went ahead with the demolition of the Secretariat complex in violation of the Construction and Demolition Waste Management Rules 2016, against the Provisions of the Epidemic Diseases Act 1897 and against the provisions of the Environment Protection Act 1986, among other laws. On its part, the state government argued that environmental clearances were not required for demolition of buildings. Further, the AG had put forth arguments that the Telangana government got necessary permission from the Greater Hyderabad Municipal Corporation for demolition of the Old Secretariat building.

On June 28, the Telangana High Court gave its nod to demolish the old Secretariat building complex. Following this, the Telangana government began the demolition activity. At least 60 per cent of the old Secretariat, spread over 25.5 acres with 10 blocks, was razed to the ground. In the meanwhile, P L Visheshwar Rao filed a petition seeking the High Court directions to halt the demolition works. The petitioner had earlier argued that the building was being demolished in violation of Covid-19 regulations. The petitioner also contended that the demolition has led to air pollution at a time the twin cities of Hyderabad and Secunderabad are seeing an alarming rise in Covid-19 cases. Such demolition has led to severe breathing problems for the residents in Saifabad area.

Hearing a petition filed by retired professor P L Visheshwar Rao, the High Court had put brakes on the demolition of the old Secretariat building on July 10. The High Court again directed the Telangana government to stop the demolition works till July 15.

Already, 60 percent of the old Secretariat building, spread over 25.5 acres with 10 blocks, which began in the early hours of June 7 had been razed to the ground.

Almost all the 10 blocks of the building had already been razed to ground, including the Saifabad Palace which was built in 1888 in European style by Mir Osman Ali Khan, seventh Nizam and the last ruler of erstwhile Hyderabad State. The Saifabad Palace once the seat of Nizam’s Prime Minister till Hyderabad”s accession with the Indian Union in 1948.

The G-Block, also known as Sarvahitha from where N T Rama Rao discharged his duties as chief minister was also demolished. The C-Block and the H Block which served as the offices of former CMs Marri Channa Reddy and Chandrababu Naidu respectively were razed to the ground.

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Telangana HC stays Secretariat demolition till July 15

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The Telangana High Court on Monday directed the KCR government to halt the demolition of the old Secretariat building in Saifabad until further notice.

Hearing a petition filed by retired professor P L Visheshwar Rao, the High Court directed the Telangana government to stop the demolition works till July 15. Further, the court has asked the state government to submit a report in a sealed cover on the Cabinet decision to demolish the old Secretariat building.

On its part, the AG had submitted all the required clearances and permissions it had received from different sanctioning authorities to demolish the building.

The petitioner, through his counsel, submitted to the court that he will file a counter to the government’s arguments. The court has posted the next hearing on the issue to July 15.

On July, 10, the High Court put brakes to the demolition of the old Secretariat building. The petitioner had earlier argued that the building was being demolished in violation of Covid-19 regulations.

The petitioner also contended that the demolition has led to air pollution at a time the twin cities of Hyderabad and Secunderabad are seeing an alarming rise in Covid-19 cases. Such demolition has led to severe breathing problems for the residents in Saifabad area.

Hearing the petitioner, the HC had directed the state government to stop all demolition works until further notice and asked the government to submit a report on what safety measures were initiated while carrying out the demolition activity.

Already, 60 percent of the old Secretariat building, spread over 25.5 acres with 10 blocks, which began in the early hours of June 7 had been razed to the ground.

Almost all the 10 blocks of the building had already been razed to ground, including the Saifabad Palace which was built in 1888 in European style by Mir Osman Ali Khan, seventh Nizam and the last ruler of erstwhile Hyderabad State. The Saifabad Palace once the seat of Nizam’s Prime Minister till Hyderabad”s accession with the Indian Union in 1948.

The G-Block, also known as Sarvahitha from where N T Rama Rao discharged his duties as chief minister was also demolished. The C-Block and the H Block which served as the offices of former CMs Marri Channa Reddy and Chandrababu Naidu respectively were razed to the ground.

Telugu360 is always open for the best and bright journalists. If you are interested in full-time or freelance, email us at Krishna@telugu360.com.

KCR promises to build mosque, temple in new Secretariat complex

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In the wake of an uproar over the demolition of two mosques and a temple in the old Secretariat complex, Telangana Chief Minister K. Chandrashekhar Rao on Friday announced that the government will construct these in the new Secretariat premises at government expense.

He expressed ‘regret and pain over some inconvenience’ caused to the religious structures due to the demolition work at the old Secretariat complex.

He declared that in the new Secretariat premises, a new temple and mosque would be constructed on a more spacious spots.

“The government has begun to construct the new Secretariat complex by demolishing the old buildings. I came to know that while demolishing the multistoreyed old buildings, the temple and mosque adjacent to the old buildings were damaged due to debris falling on them. I feel sorry about the incident. It should not have happened. The government’s intention is to build a new complex by demolishing the old buildings without causing any damage to the temple or the mosque,” he said in a statement.

“We will construct a temple and a mosque in the new Secretariat premises in a more spacious way even if it means spending crores of rupees. We will construct the temple and mosque at government cost and hand them over to the people concerned. I will have a meeting with the temple and mosque managements very soon. After discussing with them, along with the new Secretariat, places of worship will also be constructed. This is my promise,” he added.

KCR, as Rao is popularly known, maintained that his government remained secular.

“Telangana is a secular state. We will continue to follow the secular spirit, come what may. This incident happened unexpectedly. Everyone should understand this properly without prejudice,” the CM said.

KCR’s statement came after Hyderabad MP Asaduddin Owaisi and several religious scholars and leaders of various Muslim organizations issued a joint statement to condemn the demolition of two mosques in the Secretariat premises and demanded their immediate reconstruction at the same spot.

They said the incident had shaken the confidence of Muslims in KCR, who have been projecting himself as a secular leader. The Muslim leaders also warned that if the government failed to take steps for early reconstruction of the mosques, the Muslims would be forced to launch a protest.

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Historic Telangana Secretariat razed to ground

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After the Telangana High Court last week gave its nod to demolish the old Secretariat building complex at Saifabad, the historic building on Tuesday has been razed to the ground.

The demolition of the old Secretariat, spread over 25.5 acres with 10 blocks, began in the wee hours of Tuesday. High-end JCB vehicles were pressed into services to bulldoze the 10 blocks of the old Secretariat. The area has been cordoned off with the city police erecting barricades on the roads that lead to Secretariat. Vehicular traffic came to a standstill as the lanes around Secretariat were barricaded. Secretariat employees operating from temporary offices at BRK Bhavan near the old premises were given a day off.

The decades-old building had been the seat of power for decades.

Of the 10 blocks, the most famous were the G Block (Sarvahitha) from where N T Rama Rao discharged duties as chief minister. During the tenure of Marri Channa Reddy, two more blocks – B and C – were constructed. Channa Reddy operated from the C Block. When Chandrababu Naidu was the CM, the H Block which was constructed during the Nizam’s time was demolished. Further, the Nizam era G-block, also called Peshi, was razed to the ground. Mir Osman Ali Khan, seventh Nizam and the last ruler of erstwhile Hyderabad State, was instrumental in the construction of Saifabad Palace in the sprawling old Secretariat complex in 1888. Built in European architecture, Saifabad Palace served as the office of Nizam”s Prime Minister till Hyderabad”s accession with the Indian Union in 1948.

With the demolition of the old Secretariat, the KCR government will now be focussing on building a new structure at a cost of around Rs 400-Rs 500 crore after the state Cabinet approved construction of a new building on June 19, 2019. Chief Minister K Chandrasekhar Rao had already laid the foundation stone for the new Secretariat complex on June 27, 2019. Later, the secretariat was shifted to BRK Bhavan.

The High Court last week gave its approval for construction of the new Secretariat, after protracted hearings lasting more than a year. The new Secretariat, with five-six lakh sq ft built-up area, would be constructed at the existing premises next to the Hussain Sagar.

The High Court had recently dismissed a bunch of petitions challenging the KCR government’s decision to construct a new Secretariat complex by demolishing the existing one. The petitioners, including Congress leader Revanth Reddy and retired professor P L Visheshwar Rao, had argued that construction of a new Secretariat would cause an additional burden on the state’s exchequer. However, the KCR government underscored the need for a new building as the city expanded.

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Don’t interfere in Secretariat demolition issue: TS govt tells High Court

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Telangana government on Tuesday told the High Court that the courts should not interfere in the policy decisions being taken by it in the discharge of its executive powers conferred by the constitution of India.

The state government made these remarks while presenting its arguments in batch of Public Interest Litigation (PILs) filed against the demolition of the existing state secretariat building complex.

The petitions were filed by different concerned citizens of the state including congress party MP A. Revanth Reddy and Telangana Jana Samithi Vice President Prof. PL Visweswar Rao.

Arguing the case before the HC the counsel for the state government further said that the state cabinet had taken the decision of the demolition of the secretariat complex on the basis of the report submitted by an engineers committee.

Intervening at this juncture, the counsel for the petitioners told the HC that the committee had given its report following the orders of the state government. They urged the court to appoint an independent committee to examine the status of the existing secretariat buildings. Following this, a division bench of the HC adjourned the case till Thursday to hear further arguments.

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Global tenders for Rs 500 cr Secretariat, Assembly buildings

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The Telangana government is planning to construct new buildings for the Assembly at a cost of Rs 100 Cr and for Secretariat at Rs 400 Cr. The government is calling global tenders to ensure that the new structures will have international standards. CM KCR is also showing interest in involving Shapurji Pallonji Company which has constructed Pragathi Bhavan in record time.

The existing Secretariat buildings will be demolished for the new ones to come up in the same place. KCR was actually interested in Bison Polo grounds but he developed a sentiment against moving out of the present premises. Every time he is thinking to move to Bison Polo, something wrong is happening. In recent general elections, he couldn’t win all 16 MP seats as per his estimate.

Telugu360 is always open for the best and bright journalists. If you are interested in full-time or freelance, email us at Krishna@telugu360.com.

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