Telangana Chief Minister K. Chandrasekhar Rao (KCR)’s new official residence-cum-office built at a cost of around Rs 60 crore on a sprawling nine-acre piece of land in Begumpet in Hyderabad has drawn strong criticism from the Opposition and Telangana groups.

No other Chief Minister or even the Prime Minister has such a palatial bungalow, they say.

They said that the Chief Minister had wasted huge public money for a posh residence at a time he couldn’t keep his promises to different sections, including farmers, students and other poor people. Apart from the Congress, TDP, BJP and the Left parties, even Telangana Joint Action Committee (T-JAC) convener Kodandaram disapproved of the costly bungalow.

KCR entered his newly constructed official residence-cum-office at 5.22 am on Thursday amid the chanting of Vedic hymns and special homams by a battery of pundits led by eminent seer Sri Tridandi Ramanuja China Jeeyar. Interestingly, Jeeyar first sat in the official chair of the CM, before KCR occupied it to ward off any vastu doshas (evil effects of Vastu).

The early morning guests at the house warming ceremony included Governor E.S.L. Narasimhan, Legislative Assembly Speaker S. Madhusudhana Chary, Legislative Council chairman Swamy Goud, his son and minister K.T. Rama Rao. Daughter and MP Kavitha, minister and nephew Harish Rao were among those present.

The actual cost of constructing the CM’s official residence was around Rs 50 crore (up from an earlier estimate of Rs 33 crore) and with the final furnishings, it went up to close to Rs 60 crore, sources in the CM’s office told this newspaper.

The building shot into prominence on social media for its bullet proof bathrooms and toilets, besides top quality wood and steel work.

A staunch believer of vastu, KCR has personally supervised the construction of his new official residence, now christened Pragathi Bhavan and the office complex, named as Jana Hita and ensured that these were built in a record time of nine months. The Cyrus Mistry-owned Shapoorji and Pallonji took up the contract of this two storeyed complex.

An official residence of the Chief Minister was built at a cost of Rs 15 crore by gthe then Chief Minister Y.S. Rajasekhara Reddy in 2007, only a few hundred yards from the newly built one, but KCR avoided it on the ground that it bad vastu. It may be remembered that the late YSR died in a helicopter crash on 1 September 2009 after he entered his residence.

KCR’s new residence-cum-office.

This is one reason why KCR has preferred to stay most of the time at his farmhouse at Erabelli village in his home constituency Gajwel in Medak district, which is 75 km from Hyderabad.

KCR, who has surveyed several buildings in the city to construct an official residence-cum-office for him, finally zeroed in on the present location which previously had IAS officers’ bungalows. However, KCR ordered the demolition of the bungalows for building this new CM residence-cum-office.

All senior IAS officers, including the chief secretary, principal secretaries and DGP and additional DG security, would now be provided with spacious bungalows in a zone adjacent to the CM’s residence complex. This project is expected to cost another Rs 50 crore and would be ready by next year.

Congress leader and Opposition Leader in the Legislative Council, Mohammad Ali Shabbir told The Sunday Guardian on Friday that KCR had been wasting public money on unnecessary luxuries like a posh official residence. “Where is the need for a new costly building when the state has a CM residence?” Shabbir asked.

T JAC convener Kodandaram stopped short of attacking KCR, but said that there were other pressing needs of people that were to be met first. “Students and farmers are waiting for their dues from the government, but the officials are saying there are no funds, how can we afford to waste money?” he said.

Kodandaram was a comrade in arms with KCR until 2014.

TDP MLA A. Revanth Reddy said that though Telangana was a smaller state, no other CM or even the PM in the country has such a big official residence as that of KCR.

However, Nalgonda MP G. Sukhender Reddy, who defected from the Congress to TRS early this year, has said that there was nothing wrong to build an official residence-cum-office complex for the CM. “Don’t forget that it is the official residence of the CM, whoever becomes the CM will stay here. And good vastu will bring good to people,” he told The Sunday Guardian.

KCR after chairing his first meeting at his new official complex told a gathering of senior leaders and officials that, henceforth, all official functions would be held in the new complex. “Let’s celebrate all official get-togethers like Ugadi panchangam (Telugu new year event), Ramzan, iftar, Christmas etc., from here only,” he told them.

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