The Telangana government commenced the demolition of the Secretariat buildings early on Tuesday without advance notice to the general public, to make way for a new complex costing an estimated Rs 500 crore.
Clouds of dust were seen in the area, and traffic went haywire during the day as roads were suddenly closed for the demolition.
Chief minister K. Chandrashekar Rao is said to have approved the design provided by a Chennai-based architect firm for the new Secretariat complex. It will be a ground-plus five floors building facing the Hussainsagar, to be built on about 3 acres of land. It will have 6 lakh square feet of built-up area. The construction work is expected to commence during the auspicious month of Sravanam.
The demolition was kickstarted from the Samata Block which housed the chief minister’s office earlier, and followed by other dilapidated buildings.
The Secretariat comprises 10 blocks and the complex is spread over 25.5 acres of land. The government had de-notified the Saravahita Block, built during the Nizam’s regime, from the heritage list.
The demolition work was in full swing using heavy machinery, with dense dust engulfing the area. Sources said the work would be completed in less than a week.
The demolition commenced without prior notice after the chief minister gave the nod late in the night on Monday after a meeting with chief secretary Somesh Kumar and director-general of police M. Mahendar Reddy in his farmhouse in Erravelli, sources said. Rao had laid the foundation stone for the new administrative complex on June 27 last year.
Police cordoned off all the routes leading to the Secretariat and imposed traffic restrictions on roads leading to the site. Barricades have been erected at Khairatabad, Ravindra Bharati, Himayatnagar, Tank Bund and other junctions leading to the spot. The restrictions may be in place for a few days.
The authorities announced a holiday for State Secretariat employees who have been temporarily accommodated in the BRKR Bhavan.
The Telangana High Court had on June 29 refused to intervene with the State Cabinet’s decision to demolish the Secretariat and had dismissed all petitions against the move.
Asked about the timing of the start of the demolition, Nagaraja Sharma, a priest, said that there was auspicious muhurat in the early hours of Tuesday. Generally. the time between 3 am and 5 am is considered Brahma muhurta.