Photo essay: A look at Telangana Secretariat, India’s ‘tallest’ administrative building

Telangana Secretariat has been built at an estimated cost of ₹650 crore and will be inaugurated by Telangana CM KCR at 6:08 am on Sunday.

ByAjay Tomar

Published Apr 30, 2023 | 5:00 AMUpdatedApr 30, 2023 | 12:17 PM

Photo essay: A look at Telangana Secretariat, India's 'tallest' administrative building set to be inaugurated on 30 April

A huge edifice would not have escaped the eyes of people travelling on the Hussain Sagar stretch at the NTR Marg in Hyderabad over the past few years.

Named after the architect of the Indian Constitution, BR Ambedkar, this colossal, newly-built Telangana Secretariat may appear no less than a royal palace.

It was all set to be inaugurated sharp at 6.08 am on Sunday, 30 April, by Telangana Chief Minister K Chandrashekar Rao.

Two days before the inauguration, work was on in full swing to make final arrangements when South First visited the spot.

Aerial view of Telangana Secretariat and under construction Martyr's memorial. (Supplied)

Aerial view of Telangana Secretariat and under construction ₹179 crore Telangana Martyr’s memorial, said to be world’s largest seamless stainless steel structure. (Supplied)

Construction workers of the Shapoorji Pallonji Group, which executed the project, were fixing the name boards on the exterior walls of the Secretariat and gardeners were busy mowing and laying new grass on the lawns as well as outside.

Government employees and ministers could be seen visiting it in large numbers as if nobody wanted to miss being a part of this new 265-foot (80-metre) landmark.

After inaugurating the secretariat and completing a few religious rituals, KCR is expected to sit in his new office between 1.20 pm and 1.30 pm.

There, the chief minister will reportedly first sign the file of the Gruha Lakshmi scheme (₹3 lakh to be given to women beneficiaries to build houses) and regularisation of property transactions on notarised documents in Telangana.

He is also expected to address government officials and workers at 2.15 pm, while all the ministers have been asked to occupy their seats in the chambers between 1.58 pm and 2.04 pm.

Why the new secretariat?

Old Telangana Secretariat, which constructed by the Nizams over 132 years ago.

Old Telangana Secretariat, which constructed by the Nizams over 132 years ago. (Supplied)

After the formation of Telangana in 2014, the state government started operating in the Old Secretariat complex.

“There were frequent complaints of roof leakage, short circuits, inadequate parking spaces, absence of basic amenities for employees, insufficient and irregular space, and no compliance with fire-safety, National Building Code (NBC), and green building norms,” I Ganpati Reddy, chief engineer of the Telangana Roads and Buildings (R&B) Department, which is doing the work, told South First.

A model of the new Telangana Secretariat.

A model of the new Telangana Secretariat. (Supplied)

He added that as the building was very old, it was not cost-effective enough to continue repairing it. It was demolished on 7 July, 2020.

Right then, the technical committee under the Telangana government recommended the construction of an “integrated state-of-the-art” new secretariat complex.

It was then that the R&B Department invited the concept plans from architects across India and handed the project to Chennai-based couple Oscar and Ponni Concessao.

Salient features of the new Secretariat

The 635-room building has been built in the Indo-Saracenic style that blends Indo-Islamic architectural features with domes.

CM conference hall in the new Telangana Secretariat

CM conference hall in the new Telangana Secretariat. (Supplied)

The multiple domes and arches of the building represent the syncretic and liberal Deccani style.

As per officials, around 12,000 workers completed the construction in three shifts.

A total of 11 lakh bricks, 7,000 tonnes of steel, 35,000 tonnes of cement, 26,000 tonnes of sand, and 60,000 cubic metres of concrete have been used for the construction.

As per estimates, three lakh square feet of granite and one lakh square feet of marble have also been used.

The seven-storey structure houses the offices of the chief minister, ministers, chief secretary, and all other secretaries and heads of departments. 

The building has two massive domes and a national emblem atop one of the domes, as well with a temple, a mosque, and a church.

As against the initial estimate of ₹617 crore, it was built at an approximate cost of ₹650 crore.

Sky lounge at the 11th floor in the new Telangana Secretariat is for hosting state banquets.

Sky lounge at the 11th floor in the new Telangana Secretariat is for hosting state banquets. (Supplied)

The modern amenities include conference and Cabinet halls, a “Janahita” hall that can accommodate 250 people for praja darbars, visitors lounges, dining halls, and sky lounges for state banquets.

Out of total land area of 27.9 acres, the building has come up on 2.45 acres. Landscaping has been taken up on 7.72 acres. The central courtyard lawn is spread over 2.2 acres.

While the total area of the complex is 10.5 lakh square feet, the main complex is 8.5 lakh square feet and the area of ancillary building is 6.7 lakh square feet.

The structure has seven floors apart from a lower ground and each floor is 14 feet tall. The Chief Minister’s Office (CMO) is on the sixth floor, with the main feature being white marble.

It also has a parking space of 2.5 acres — for 560 cars and 700 two-wheelers — on the premises, whereas there is separate parking for visitors where 160 cars and 300 two-wheelers (1.5 acres) can fit in.

There are four entrances — the main entrance on the east side of the complex, the east gate entrance, reserved for the chief minister, ministers, and higher officials, another gate for officers and staff, and a final gate for visitors.

As many as 468 special policemen of the Telangana Police will reportedly monitor the security of the Secretariat.

Departments, secretaries under single roof

Office of a Secretary inside the new Telangana Secretariat.

Office of a Secretary inside the new Telangana Secretariat. (Supplied)

The new secretariat has 30 conference rooms, one for each department.

Earlier, the secretary of a particular department used to sit in the Secretariat, while the office of the Head of the Department (HoD) used to be elsewhere — sometimes 15-20 km away from the secretariat.

Due to lack of proper coordination between the secretariat department and HoD, the clearance of files took a long time.

However, the new secretariat houses all the departments, HoD and officials on one floor.

“This will help with better coordination and reduce the time for clearing of the files,” Roads and Buildings Minister Vemula Prasanth Reddy said on Friday.

Long legal battle

Telangana CM KCR inspecting the under construction new Telangana Secretariat.

Telangana CM KCR inspecting the under-construction new Telangana Secretariat. (Supplied)

While KCR laid the foundation stone for the new secretariat on 27 June, 2019, the work began in December 2020 after the Telangana High Court dismissed petitions filed by the Opposition parties and heritage activists.

The petitioners stated the government’s plan was a waste of public money and argued that the existing structures were in good condition and could meet all the requirements.

The government countered that Telangana needed an integrated complex with modern amenities to ensure the smooth functioning of the offices of several officials.

Telangana now also awaits the inauguration of the under-construction Martyr’s Memorial right in front of the Secretariat.

‘Pride of Telangana’

A day ahead of the inauguration, the chief minister said that the new secretariat building stood as an eloquent testimony to the self-respect of the people and the pride of Telangana.

In a message, he said: “It is a momentous occasion for the entire Telangana state. We have named it after BR Ambedkar. We have come to have this great engineering marvel after overcoming aspersions by some people who tried to obstruct our progress. Now it is the pride of India. It is now available to serve the people.”

He added that the design of the secretariat was made keeping in mind the needs of posterity. It has been built using modern technology and human skill and is an eco-friendly building, he said.

View of the 125 foot tall Ambedkar statue and Telangana secretariat from Hussain Sagar in Hyderabad

View of the 125-foot-tall Ambedkar statue and Telangana. (Ajay Tomar/South First) secretariat from Hussain Sagar.

“The new secretariat is like a temple that provides serenity to the people. Its very sight fills one with joy and satisfaction. It provides a great feeling of well-being and happiness. Employees would henceforth be working in this ambience. I am sure it would help the government work with efficiency and would lead to a qualitative change in administration,” KCR noted.

Referring to naming the secretariat after the architect of the Constitution, he said the motive force behind the decision was equal rights for the SCs, STs, BCs, minorities, women, and the poor in the areas of social, economic, political and cultural spheres.

“In its short history, Telangana has risen above all the other states and was now standing as the role model for the entire nation,” KCR said.