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The Telangana High Court chastised the state government of Chandrashekhar Rao for its grandiose plans to build a new secretariat when the same government had advocated cost-cutting measures across all ministries and departments.

The court also asked the state to furnish details  of the plan and design of the proposed new secretariat complex, the time needed for completion of the project and how the government would manage to raise the funds for construction of the new complex. The two judge bench comprising Chief Justice Raghavendra Singh Chauhan and Justice A Abhishek Reddy issued the direction in response to PILs filed in 2016 by a former MLA and others challenging the state government’s decision to demolish the present secretariat and build a new one in its place. The petitioners had sought a stay on shifting offices from the existing buildings which are being prepped for demolition. The court had ordered a stay on the demolition process.

Asking the government to give details of the funds needed for the project, the court sought an affidavit from the state giving other details like maps, showing the construction area required for office space in the proposed secretariat complex.

The court asked the counsel how the state government could go ahead with its decision of demolishing the secretariat buildings without there being any details relating to its plan, designs, estimates and actual area required for the purpose. The court observed that huge constructions require crores of rupees and wondered if the Telangana government can fund new complex despite the precarious financial position.

Additional Advocate General J Ramachandra Rao said that the state government had finished the world famous Kaleshwaram project in three years. It had the competence to construct the envisioned secretariat in a short time. He emphasized that after moving the departments from the old secretariat, 70 per cent of the offices were relocated at one place at BRKR Bhavan.

—India Legal Bureau

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