A Nizam-era nursery, probably the first commercial one in the city, at Public Gardens will make way for a concrete building to house the Legislative Council. The government has set its eyes on the land located between Jubilee Hall and Legislative Assembly to construct a new Legislative Council hall and its offices. Ironically, it would mar the aesthetics of the heritage structures in the vicinity. Presently, the horticulture department manages the nursery on three-acre land. The department sells saplings, cuttings, grafts of nearly 5,000 varieties of plants, fruits and vegetables at nominal rates to public. “The Legislative Council occupies a portion of Jubilee Hall. Due to space problems, except for chief minister and one or two ministers, we cannot provide office space at Council Hall. To provide connectivity to the Assembly building, a proposal has been moved to construct new Council Hall on the land belonging to the nursery,” secretary, Legislative Assembly, S Raja Sadaram told STOI.
In fact, the authorities had convened meetings twice with Horticulture, Greater Hyderabad Municipal Corporation and Hyderabad Municipal Development Authority (HMDA) to acquire the nursery land for the construction of the Council Hall. The job was entrusted to the roads & buildings (R&B) department to prepare estimates for the proposed building, he said. R&B chief engineer Ramakrishna Kumar said: “The Assembly authorities have asked us to invite a reputed international architect to prepare the designs for the proposed Council Hall. Soon, a notification will be issued to appoint a consultant,” he added. R&B sources said the building which houses the offices of the government whip, Congress Legislature Party (CLP), YSRCP, TRS and AIMIM, would be demolished and these offices would be shifted to the proposed Council Hall.
As per the GO Ms No. 102 (MA&UD) Dated 23/03/1998, the government had notified the Jubilee Hall as heritage building under ‘Grade II-B’ category. Interestingly, the land, which R&B authorities have identified to construct a new Council Hall, is exactly behind the existing Council Hall. When contacted, HMDA chief planning officer Syed Ziauddin, who is also member of the Heritage Conservation Committee, said as per the rule no construction activity should be taken up to 30 metres of the notified heritage building. In case, the government decides to construct any new building, they have to refer it to the Heritage Conservation Committee (HCC) of the Hyderabad Metropolitan Development Authority (HMDA) to get ‘no objection certificate’ (NOC). “We used to generate Rs 15 lakhs per month by selling saplings at the nursery. The government has allotted land near KIMS, Minister Road (HMDA’s open area) in lieu of three-acre land at Public Gardens to develop a new nursery,” deputy director, department of horticulture, M G Deva Munireddy said.