The Congress and the BJP in Telangana have threatened to launch agitations against the Telangana Rashtra Samithi (TRS)-led state government’s decision to allot a prime Hyderabad land to the ruling party for constructing its district office in the city. A 4935-sq yard plot on Road 12 at NBT Nagar in the capital’s posh Banjara Hills has been allotted to the TRS through a Government Order (GO) issued on May 11 by chief secretary Somesh Kumar.
The land is estimated to be worth at least Rs 100 crore, said the All India Congress Committee (AICC)’s spokesperson Dasoju Sravan.
Expressing outrage over the K Chandrashekar Rao-headed government’s move, the Opposition parties have pointed out that the TRS already has a sprawling party headquarters, called Telangana Bhavan, in Banjara Hills, which was unveiled in 2006. Chief Minister and TRS supremo KCR had also laid the foundation stone for a TRS office building at Delhi’s Vasant Vihar last year.
“This is TRS bosses’ robbery of valuable public land in broad daylight with the support of official machinery,” alleged Sravan, questioning the fresh allotment of land to the TRS for its district office when the ruling party already has its state office built over an acre in the same locality. Asking the KCR government to immediately cancel the May 11 GO order, he warned that otherwise the Congress will launch a mass agitation in order to “check the looting of valuable public land by KCR and his family in the name of party offices”.
The Congress leader charged, “Already TRS state office is spread over an acre at Banjara Hills Road No. 12 and now the TRS government has once again allotted more than an acre for another party office in the same locality. Never in the history have we seen such a shameless loot of public property by people in power. In the past 8 years the TRS has amassed assets worth over Rs 1000 crore. From where did these assets come? Who is donating to TRS? And now by abusing power KCR is trying to grab another prime land. It is unfortunate that the government which has to protect public land is itself usurping it.”
The BJP also mounted an attack on the KCR government over the row, with party MLA T Raja Singh accusing it of “robbing valuable public land” and saying that the saffron party will also launch protests and “do everything to stop this land allotment to TRS”.
Threatening an agitation against the government, state BJP president Bandi Sanjay Kumar asked “why does the TRS need such a vast piece of land when they already have Telangana Bhavan in the same area”. He said, “We demand they cancel this allotment and that this land should be used to construct 2-bedroom houses for the poor.”
Other Opposition parties also demanded that the TRS government immediately scrap the land allotment decision. The state Bahujan Samaj Party’s chief coordinator and ex-IPS office R S Praveen Kumar, asked, “What are those extraordinary circumstances which led to issue of this GO? This is the culmination of the TRS’s abuse of power. TRS which has Rs 1,000 crore assents cannot buy an acre of land on its own? What is the reason to give TRS the land for free?’’
Keeping his guns trained on the TRS dispensation, Sravan accused the ruling party of “encroaching all prime lands in Hyderabad”. He alleged, “Government is not constructing double bedroom houses on the outskirts of the city, citing non-availability of land. But when it comes to allocating land for TRS office, it finds land in the city. This shows government has no intention to provide houses to the poor and is more focused on usurping public lands.” He said the Congress’s headquarters in Telangana, Gandhi Bhavan, has always been on lease.
In 2018, the KCR government had announced that it will allot land up to one acre at Rs 100 per yard to political parties to construct their offices in the state, adding that they would also be exempted from paying any property tax in this regard.
When asked for the TRS’s reaction over the row, party spokesperson T Bhanu Prasad Rao, a Member of Legislative Council (MLC), said, “No comment.”