HYDERABAD: A series of news reports published in Deccan Chronicle highlighting the crumbling civic infrastructure and amenities of the city between September 6 to December 10 formed the basis of a writ plea before the the Telangana High Court on Monday, which the court accepted.
The High Court bench, comprising Chief Justice Raghvendra Singh Chauhan and Justice A. Abhishek Reddy heard senior counsel L. Ravichander and directed the government to file their response in the matter, besides ordering that the writ petition be listed alongside an earlier suo motu petition, also based on Deccan Chronicle reports.
Mr G. Satya Naresh Kumar, a resident of Hyderabad, complained to the court that the GHMC, and the Hyderabad Metropolitan Water Supply and Sewerage Board (HMWS&SB), among others, had failed to provide proper civic amenities, including proper roads, collecting, removing and disposing of garbage, maintaining health and hygiene, defogging to kill mosquitoes, among others, during the heavy rains last year.
Mr Naresh Kumar pointed out that the failure on part of the civic authorities, in particular the GHMC, was a violation of the guarantee of right to life, besides constricting and proving an obstacle to goals adopted by India under the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Develop-ment Goals (SDG), New Urban Agenda resolution of the United Nations General Assembly, UN World Water Development Report and various other national and state-level policies and schemes.
The petitioner sought the creation of a high-powered monitoring committee to constantly supervise the proper repair and maintenance of roads, check position of water supply and ensure proper supply, removal of garbage and implement all other measures to ensure safe and hygienic living for residents under the GHMC area.
The petition called for a detailed master plan for the path ahead to ensure against a repeat of such calamitous experiences, and called for a detailed report from the GHMC on the amount spent on maintenance of roads, steps being taken against water blockage and sewerage entering regular water sources and residential houses from the concerned authorities.
In an affidavit of over 40 pages, the petitioner pointed out to various provisions of the GHMC Act and various government schemes, both central and state.
The affidavit quotes copiously from the reports of Deccan Chronicle, including its voice of the people columns, Speak Out, including citizen’s grievances, and used heavily the photographs of bad civic infrastructure in the city.
The petitioner argued from the pictures published in various reports of Deccan Chronicle that the twin cities were turning dirtier and unliveable during the last three months since the municipal staff was deployed for election duty and revenue collection.
Several DC reports on sanitation and hygiene had showed residents had complained that even after making complaints on the official app, myGHMC, no action was being taken and garbage lying strewn on roads across the city had become a commonplace occurrence, the petitioner argued in the petition before the High Court.
The DC had also reported that despite various attempts to reach out, GHMC commissioner Lokesh Kumar had never showed much inclination to either reply to people’s complaints either on the app or through the newspapers, the petitioner submitted.
The alarming number of badgered commuters whose lives become very difficult travelling on roads caused due to lunar-scape craters and potholes reported on September 12 in Deccan Chronicle and 44 news items from the paper were quoted in the petition, with which the High Court concurred.
The High Court bench, led by Chief Justice Raghvendra Singh Chauhan, directed the GHMC and other authorities to file their counters before adjourned the case to February 10....