OFFICERS GUARDING Telangana Chief Minister K Chandrasekhara Rao have ordered the erection of giant metal sheets around Pragathi Bhavan, his sprawling, nine-acre office-cum-residence, to block the view from outside.
According to officials, the state’s Intelligence Security Wing (ISW), which protects the Chief Minister, has found that from the terrace of three buildings in the vicinity of Pragathi Bhavan, people could see Rao standing or sitting at certain spots inside the campus.
Claiming that this exposes the Chief Minister to “direct line of sight”, the ISW officials suggested raising metal sheets as tall as these buildings to cut off the view from all directions. These metal sheets are being installed along the boundary wall with “strong support” to withstand high-speed winds.
On May 27, Rao’s security was further strengthened, with the elite Greyhounds commandos taking over “close proximity security” from the Telangana State Special Police (TSSP), which will continue to man the outer cordon. This is the first time commandos from the crack anti-Naxal force have been deployed in VIP security.
Speaking to The Indian Express, a senior government official said, “There was an inadequacy in security, which was found, and we are plugging it effectively by erecting the metal sheets. We constantly review security arrangements and upgrade them when necessary,’’ said the official.
A senior police officer said, “Making the security arrangements fool-proof, step by step, was always part of the original plan when Pragathi Bhavan was built. This additional security feature was part of the plan to insulate the complex from any threat.’’
While there is no specific threat to Rao from Maoists, officials said, the Greyhounds were brought in because Rao plans to visit Maoist-affected districts more often, mainly to inaugurate several government welfare schemes being launched in those areas.
The Vaastu-compliant Pragathi Bhavan, built at a cost of over Rs 35 crore, has five tiers of security, starting with the lane outside on the Begumpet main road, a portion of which has been fenced and barricaded. Apart from the Chief Minister’s convoy, only vehicles and people with prior authorisation can enter the fenced portion and proceed towards Pragathi Bhavan.
The campus houses the Chief Minister’s new residence, a conference hall named ‘Janahita’ and a cluster of offices from which he and his staff can work without having to go out. Apart from the latest security measures, the window panes in the Chief Minister’s residence and office are made of toughened glass.
Recently, while responding to allegations that he was splurging public money on his personal security, Rao had said that Pragathi Bhavan was not merely his house but the “pride of Telangana”.
According to officials, the new complex was constructed because the old “camp office” built by the late chief minister Y S Rajasekhara Reddy did not even have parking space for Rao’s convoy.