2020 in review: The year that was

Year 2020 will be remembered for Secretariat demolition

The demolition of the iconic Secretariat complex that served as the seat of power before and after the Hyderabad State’s merger with the Andhra State to form the first linguistic State in the country stands out among the major events in 2020.

The Secretariat complex which was witness to several important developments, political and administrative, was razed starting July 7 after the government managed to get a go ahead from the High Court.

It took a full one year for the government to start demolition of the complex comprising several buildings old and new after Chief Minister K. Chandrasekhar Rao formally laid the foundation stone for the construction of the new integrated complex more than a year ago on June 27, 2019. Nine blocks of the Secretariat, including the G-block, the 133-year-old building constructed during the VI Nizam Mahbub Ali Khan, and later modified by his successor the VII Nizam Osman Ali Khan in 1916, had been razed to the ground in just a couple of weeks resulting in 4,500 truckloads of debris. The old Secretariat complex has a total built up area of 9.93 lakh sq.ft., including 50,183 sq.ft of the G-Block. Reputed architects were asked to finalise the designs for the new integrated complex to be constructed over the net site area of 28.05 acre against the 25.42 acre area on which the old complex stood. The Chief Minister cleared the design prepared by Chennai-based Oscar and Ponni Architects with an estimated cost of ₹617 crore, ₹217 crore more than the ₹400 crore expenditure cleared by the State Cabinet initially. The total built up area of the new complex has increased from 66,479.92 sq.m (7.15 lakh sq.ft) to 70,315.19 sq.m (7.56 lakh sq.ft) in the main complex with 11 floors in addition to ground and lower ground floors (LG+G+11). Though the number of floors in the main complex remained the same, the built up area has increased from 6.66 lakh sq.ft to 6.99 lakh sq.ftand this was mainly due to the staff amenities and other facilities.

Tenders were invited for the construction of the new complex subsequently and the process had to be postponed once after the design underwent some changes. The government had also refused to budge to the demand from the contractors for payment of mobilization advance claiming that the process had been done away with as a matter of policy.

Infrastructure development company Shapoorji Pallonji and Company has been given the contract after it outbid another infrastructure major L&T. The company was handed over the letter of acceptance on November 17 with a pre-condition that the entire work should be completed and the new integrated complex should be handed over to the government within one year, by Nov. 16 next year. The contracting firm has accordingly taken up ground levelling works for the construction of the new complex, but major works for the new complex are yet to start going by the delay in deployment of heavy machinery required for the construction of the massive complex at such a short notice.

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Printable version | Mar 7, 2021 6:31:49 PM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/national/telangana/year-2020-will-be-remembered-for-secretariat-demolition/article33420559.ece

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