TRS pulls up Centre over defence land

State government has been seeking defence land for new Secretariat as existing one is like a pigeonhole, says MP

By Author  |  Published: 9th Aug 2018  8:41 pm
File photo of TRS MP AP Jithender Reddy

Hyderabad: The Defence Ministry was on Thursday charged by the TRS with adopting a step-motherly treatment towards Telangana State with respect to allotment of defence land for taking up development projects. The TRS floor leader in the Lok Sabha AP Jithender Reddy took the Central government to task in the House over the State’s demand for the Centre to handover the Bison Polo ground and Gymkhana Grounds to the State for taking up the Strategic Road Development Programme (SRDP) as well as constructing a new Secretariat complex.

Jithender Reddy reminded the government that many representations had been submitted to the Centre on the issue. “Chief Minister K Chandrashekhar Rao urged the Defence Minister many times and also met the Prime Minister for transfer of Bison Polo ground and Gymkhana Grounds for construction of a new Secretariat building. The old Secretariat building is like a pigeonhole. As a newly born State, we wanted to have a new Secretariat building. We also requested defence land totaling 200.58 acres for SRDP to develop NH-44 and SH-1,” he said.

He explained that the current national and state highways at the locations were creating bottlenecks for traffic in Secunderabad area, particularly on the busy Rajiv Rahadari that connects the city with Karimnagar.

Jithender Reddy also reminded that Defence Minister Arun Jaitley, after many meetings and negotiations, had asked the State government to transfer 596 acres to the Ministry of Defence in lieu of the land being sought and pay the difference in cost totaling Rs 95 crore, for which the State had readily agreed. “But even after three years, no step has been taken. The Cantonment Board wanted the State to pay Rs 31 crore towards annual property tax losses and the State requested that this be waived as the proposal is for public purpose of widening highways,” he said.

The TRS MP further described the Defence Ministry’s attitude as ‘very saddening’ and wondered how recently 210 acres of defence land was transferred to the Karnataka government within a short span of time while ‘TS has been running from pillar to post for transfer of our land with no result’.

Amidst shouts of ‘shame, shame,’ from other TRS members in the House, Jithender Reddy said: “We would like to know why a stepmotherly treatment is being meted out to Telangana, when former Defence Minister Arun Jaitley had brought it to a conclusion. But the present Defence Minister Nirmala Sitharaman is not taking it to any conclusion.”

The TRS leader said: “It is very unreasonable that development projects in Telangana, including construction of a new Secretariat, had been kept pending by the unreasonable policies of the Government of India.” He said the Defence Minister is neglecting Telangana. “We request the Home Minister to give us an assurance on this matter. We are also going to meet the Prime Minister. I request that this matter be taken on a priority basis,” he said.