HYDERABAD – An Indian state minister has recently moved into a palatial new office and residence built with $7.3 million in taxpayer money amid heavy criticism from opponents this week.
Chandrasekhara Rao, the chief minister of southern Telangana state, moved into the sprawling 100,000-square-foot residence, which sits on nearly 9 acres of real estate in the city of Hyderabad on Thursday.
It has bulletproof bathrooms, an auditorium which seats 250 people and a meeting hall that accommodates 500. The house was blessed by the minister’s special guru.
The estate, which Rao named the “Progress Building” includes parking for 500, a conference center that holds up to 600, lush gardens, modern amenities and bulletproof bathrooms – a fact that drew considerable derision across the country where 172 million people live below the poverty line.
The Bangalore Mirror reported 30 activists were arrested after staging a protest outside the palace Thursday.
Political opponents criticized Rao for the lavish expenditure of public money at a time when many Indians, farmers in particular, are struggling to survive.
The official CM residence complex named ‘Pragati Bhavan’ has five buildings including two existing buildings. Apart from the new residence, there is a sprawling CM office, and a conference hall named ‘Janahita’ where KCR will meet people. Two existing buildings constructed by late CM Y S Rajasekhara Reddy have been converted into VVIP guesthouse and official quarters.
Although, KCR has an office on the sixth floor of the C block at the Telangana Secretariat, he had stopped going there more than a year ago and had been functioning from the CM camp office at Begumpet.
The complex includes a theatre cum auditorium. The offices and residences of Chief Secretary, Director General of Police, and the state’s Intelligence chief are also in the new complex.