From Monday, government employees in Hyderabad do not need to go to the Secretariat for work. No, this is not a Dussehra break in Telangana but because the State Secretariat has been officially shut down with effect from Saturday evening. Any employee or visitor who ventures to the complex located by the Husainsagar lake is likely to see only a lock.
That’s because K Chandrasekhar Rao has set the wheels in motion to bring down the old Secretariat and build a new one in its place. He has already conducted the ground-breaking ceremony of the new Secretariat in June (see pic). But before work can commence, the government has to clear the legal hurdle as opposition parties have gone to High court opposing the move, calling it a waste of public money.
All ministers and IAS officers have been accommodated in different offices spread across the city. So while Home minister Mahmood Ali will work out of the DGP’s office, Finance minister Harish Rao will work out of Aranya Bhavan. Municipal Administration minister KT Rama Rao is operating out of the Municipal Complex while Transport minister Ajay Kumar’s new workstation will be the Regional Transport Office.
Ministers have also been asked to specify timings when they would be available to meet the public at their residence in the Ministers Quarters complex in Hyderabad.
Not that this major shift has not come without its share of problems. The BRK Bhavan for instance is notorious for being a haven for mosquitoes and in dengue-malaria season, employees are unhappy about the shift. Space is also cramped in the other offices and employees have to adjust with lesser infrastructure. Those with grievances will have to bear the brunt as they would no longer be able to meet different officers in one go but travel from one part of Hyderabad to the other.
The court has already refused permission to bring down the Errum Manzil, a heritage palace, to build a new Assembly. The Secretariat too is home to the Nizam-era Saifabad palace. Besides many of the blocks are just about a decade old, raising questions about the wisdom in demolishing them.
KCR wants to build an integrated complex that will house every government office. But in times of fund crunch and economic slowdown, it will be asked if this is really priority.