New Delhi, July 17: The Telangana government’s decision to build a grand, state-of-the-art Secretariat got a boost on Friday after the Supreme Court refused to hear a PIL questioning the decision as a waste of public money.
The High Court for the state of Telangana situated at Hyderabad had dismissed a bunch of PILs on the same issue on June 29. One of the petitioners – senior Congress leader T Jeevan Reddy, approached the apex court against the HC verdict, Hindustan Times reported.
A bench of Justices Ashok Bhushan, SK Kaul and MR Shah found the High Court to be right in dismissing the petitions. It said, “The reports quoted by the High Court say there are several deficiencies in the buildings. We would not like to interfere.”
For the petitioner, senior advocate Satyam Reddy argued that the existing buildings of the Secretariat intended for demolition are set in more than 25 acres.
“These buildings were constructed in the years from 1966 to 2012. Two blocks constructed in the year 2012 are state-of-the-art buildings having a life span of 70 years. The new Secretariat will cost more than Rs 1,000 crore which will amount to wastage of public money.”
Reddy submitted that on the one hand the state government has claimed of not having enough money to pay salaries of employees and pensioners and yet was willing to spend lavishly on such projects.
Solicitor General Tushar Mehta who appeared for the Telangana government informed the Court that the High Court had decided the petitions on merit and nothing was left to be decided by the apex court. The bench too was satisfied that the HC had examined all aspects and there was nothing remaining for further judicial review.
The total constructed area in the present Secretariat building is 9,16,681 square feet and the North Block and South Block of the Secretariat were constructed in 2012 over an area of more than 1,40,000 square feet. The Secretariat Complex served the undivided Andhra Pradesh and after the bifurcation continued to serve as the common Secretariat for the states of Telangana and Andhra Pradesh.
The decision to have a new Secretariat complex was the brainchild of Telangana Chief Minister K Chandrasekhar Rao. In 2016, the state government proposed to construct the building in Secundrabad. But the proposal was shot down by the Centre as the project plan was on defence land. On June 18, 2019, the state Cabinet decided afresh to construct a new Secretariat complex at the existing premises by demolishing the present buildings.