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Bison Polo imbroglio

Bison Polo imbroglio
Highlights

The Union Defence Ministry does want to let go of the precious 60 acre Bison Polo Grounds in Secunderabad if the developments thus far are any indication After the creation of Telangana in 2014, Chief Minister K Chandrasekhar Rao had mooted the idea of a new state of the art Secretariat, Assembly, and a Cultural Centre all at one place at Bison Polo Grounds

The Union Defence Ministry does want to let go of the precious 60- acre Bison Polo Grounds in Secunderabad if the developments thus far are any indication. After the creation of Telangana in 2014, Chief Minister K Chandrasekhar Rao had mooted the idea of a new state- of -the - art Secretariat, Assembly, and a Cultural Centre all at one place at Bison Polo Grounds.

Apparently not happy with Vaastu at the present Secretariat, Rao, stopped going there after construing his office-cum-residence, Pragati Bhavan, at Green Lands in November 2016. A couple of days ago, TRS MPs made a representation to Prime Minister Narendra Modi at Delhi for transfer of the 60-acre site for Secretariat and 200 acres of other defence lands for construction of alternative roads. After making the representation, the delegation said it did not understand why the Centre was dragging its feet after consenting to the proposal in the past.

They recalled the state government expressing readiness to transfer 595 acres elsewhere to the Army in lieu of the Bison Polo and other defence lands apart from paying Rs. 95 crore, which it would lose as income from buildings nearby. They said they suspect a change of mind since the defence minister was asking for two separate files - one for Bison Polo and the other for lands for alternative routes.

The Centre began second thoughts, it appears, on transferring Bison Polo grounds after a number of public-spirited organisations wrote to the Prime Minister's office opposing the transfer of the land. The PMO referred those complaints to the state seeking its explanation.Rao is very firm on grounding the proposal since he believes Hyderabad deserves a better Secretariat.

But there are those who worry over losing the little lung space in Secunderabad and doing injustice to the cause of sports. Their main worry is that the new Secretariat, Assembly, and Cultural Centre would convert the area into a worse concrete jungle than it is now. This would pose a problem for the people as already several arterial roads pass through the area and more than 3.5 lakh people use the roads to reach offices in Madhapur, Manikonda, and other places.

If the Secretariat also comes up there would be security issues too. This would lead to curbs on the movement of the people, they fear. This apart, heavy traffic moves on these two highways, one a national highway and the other a state highway.

As there is so much opposition to the construction of Secretariat buildings, the state government should reconsider the proposal. The government may have a point in its argument but, since we are living in a democracy, there is nothing wrong or to feel a loss of face if the state government revisits its decision.

In fact, the Centre could be requested to persuade the AP government to hand over the part of present Secretariat allotted to it to Telangana government. If that is done, Telangana would have more than what is needed to locate its offices. The state government should see reason in the argument of the public-spirited organisations rather than taking the construction of the Secretariat as a prestige issue.

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