Hyderabad: A Telangana government order allotting a plot in Hyderabad’s upscale Banjara Hills to the ruling Telangana Rashtra Samithi (TRS) for a new party office has sparked a controversy, with the opposition alleging that the land could be worth as much as Rs 100 crore.
While the Congress called it a “robbery in broad daylight”, the BJP said government officials should “stop acting like monkeys to the master”.
The order, issued Wednesday, stated that “after careful examination”, a 4,935 square-yard— or just over one-acre — plot of government land is being allotted to the TRS for construction of its party office for Hyderabad district.
The plot is situated on Road No. 12 of Banjara Hills’ NBT Nagar. The party already has a swanky office, called the Telangana Bhavan, in the same area.
TRS social media convenor and Telangana State Mineral Development Corporation chairman Krishank Manne hit back at the opposition’s claims Friday, asking the Congress how it had the right to criticise the state’s ruling party when it pays “Rs 1 per month only for Gandhi Bhavan [state Congress office]”.
Congress which bulldozed Dalits and made them homeless,
Congress which pays Rs.1 per month only for Gandhi Bhavan,
Congress which acquired 5000 sq.ft land which was worth Rs.25000 per sq.ft to just Rs.100, has right to criticise TRS which is constructing party office ? pic.twitter.com/uUzg2TzPc9
— krishanKTRS (@krishanKTRS) May 13, 2022
Speaking to ThePrint, he said, “We are in power in the state as well as Hyderabad. Cadres from across the state keep visiting the party office regularly. So for Hyderabad corporators and cadres, we are constructing an office for the district. Congress had its office in Gandhi Bhavan expanded to Indira Bhavan after evacuating Dalits. We cannot expand with the limited land, hence we have planned to construct (an office) exclusively for the Hyderabad cadre and corporators.”
Manne however did not address the cost aspect of the plot.
According to the government order, the land was allotted following a report filed by the district collector Monday. Approval from the chief commissioner of land administration (CCLA) came Tuesday.
Congress, BJP hit out
Questioning the need for a second office in the area or the city, All India Congress Committee (AICC) spokesperson Dasoju Sravan, in a press statement, called the move “a robbery of valuable public land with unholy support of official machinery”. The party, he said, will launch an agitation if the government order is not cancelled immediately.
“This is nothing but robbery in broad daylight by (chief minister) KCR and his family in the name of a party office. Already TRS state office is spread over an acre at Banjara Hills Road No. 12 and now the government has once again allotted more than an acre to the party office in the same locality. The 4,935 sq. yards prime land is worth Rs 100 crore,” Sravan told mediapersons Thursday.
BJP leader Guduru Narayana asked if the “CCLA will be equally quick in responding to other land requests or from other parties”.
“The minimum price in that area is Rs 1.5 lakh per square yard and that is being given at a paltry price, similar is the situation in other districts too. Officers are hand-in-glove too, they should stop acting like monkeys to the master,” he told ThePrint.
Prime plot, say real estate experts
A member of the Telangana Real Estate Developers’ Association said “land value in the area” where the new office is to come up “is Rs 1.5 to 2 lakh rupees per sq. yard. “And 4,935 sq. yards will go up to Rs 100 crore,” the member added.
A member of the Confederation of Real Estate Developers’ Association of India (Hyderabad), who did not wish to be named either, told ThePrint that this was a “sensitive, political” issue.
“It depends on other factors too, like ‘vastu‘, location, all these decide land prices. And generally Hyderabad’s land prices are soaring, so in a prime area like Banjara Hills, a minimum of Rs 1.5 lakh per square yard is expected,” he added.
KCR’s plan for party office in each district
In a bid to strengthen his party, Chief Minister K. Chandrashekar Rao had in 2018 pitched the idea of having a party office in every district.
At a cabinet meeting that year, a decision was taken to allot land for all political parties to construct their offices at a nominal price of Rs 100 per yard, with plots not exceeding an acre given to each party. A decision was also taken to allot land to the TRS for party offices in all districts.
The Cabinet had at the time said that the decision was taken in line with a 1987 policy on allotment of land for political parties.
Speaking on the occasion of the party completing 21 years last month, KCR said the TRS is a “prosperous party” with assets worth Rs 1,000 crore.
(Edited by Gitanjali Das)