The Telangana cabinet will meet tomorrow afternoon to discuss various issues, including the construction of a new secretariat complex and finalisation of a legislation aimed at making the state's revenue system more transparent.
The meeting will be held at Pragati Bhavan, the official residence of Chief Minister K Chandrasekhar Rao in Hyderabad, around 4 pm.
The gates of the Old Secretariat were formally locked as of today, although a couple of banks have been allowed to function on its premises for the time being. Most of the government offices there had been moved out ever since the Telangana government decided that the old secretariat should be brought down to make way for a modern complex built at an estimated budget of Rs 500 crore.
Until the new structure comes up, the Chief Minister's Office will function out of the Hyderabad Metro Rail Limited building, the Finance Ministry out of Aranya Bhavan, the Home Ministry out of the DG Office, and the Health Ministry and most others out of BRK Bhavan.
A decision on the likely date of demolition of the old complex is expected to be taken soon. However, questions on several issues - such as the technology adopted to bring the structure down and the fate of religious structures inside the complex - remain unanswered. Critics have also pointed out that the design of the new secretariat is yet to be finalised.
The government had earlier suffered a setback with the Telangana High Court ordering a halt to the Chief Minister's plans to bring down Errum Manzil, a Nizam-era palace, in order to build the new assembly complex. The court recognised it as a heritage structure that deserves to be protected.
Opposition parties and civil society organisations have also been protesting against the demolition of the Old Secretariat, arguing that there was no need to spend crores of rupees on the project at a time of unprecedented financial crisis. They also maintained that the old structure is in "perfect working condition".
The new revenue bill, expected to be tabled in the next assembly session, was announced by the Chief Minister in his Independence Day address from Golconda Fort. Acknowledging that several state revenue officials were caught taking bribes from farmers and others over the last few years, he said: "The government is preparing a new Revenue Act to undo this damage. Set to be introduced in the upcoming budget session, it will leave no room for corruption or laxity."
A proposal to merge the Telangana State Road Transport Corporation with the state government is also expected to come up at the meeting.
(With inputs from Agencies)