Telangana lawyers prefer tweaking GO 111

Legal experts and lawyers say the state govt would be better placed if it reworks and redrafts a new order — instead of scrapping GO 111

HYDERABAD: Legal experts and senior lawyers in the state have said the Telangana government would be better placed if it reworks and redrafts a new order to protect Osmansagar, and Himayatsagar — instead of scrapping GO 111.

The GO was issued in 1996 to protect the catchment areas of the two lakes and the water bodies themselves. Osmansagar and Himayatsagar are heritage sites in Hyderabad.

A government should not scrap an order that accords protection to such entities, said city advocates.

The government, being the custodian of nature, should conduct an audit about the lakes and proceed accordingly, said advocate L Ravichander.

“Construction works have already begun in the catchment areas. Looks like some of the realtors got an early wind of the decision,” he said.

“Since we have advanced in scientific outlook as compared to 1996 when the GO was drafted, we should revisit the order and draft it in a way to better protect the water bodies and rephrase the radius of catchment areas.”

“Since a high-power committee has been assigned to inspect the area, they must stop the construction works for now. They are falling prey to the most powerful group in the country, the realtors,” the advocate said.

Advocate Chikkudu Prabhakar said the GO came into the news in August 2021 when the bench of the High Court CJ took up an implead petition filed by a construction company. The company was seeking exemption for its 17-acre land in Vattinagulapally, one of the 84 villages guarded by the GO 111, from its purview.

The petitioner said the land fell outside the purview of the GO 111 conditions. “In the 2018 assembly election, the Chief Minister mentioned that he will lift the GO, following which the court posed a question about the government’s plan of action. An advocate general, on behalf of the government, told the CJ that an expert committee was formed in 2014. However, no report was submitted by the committee.”

“Even in 2000, the Supreme Court had passed a landmark order upholding GO 111 to prevent any contamination of the water-bodies. There is no question of revisiting the SC judgment when the matter was settled for once,” added Prabhakar.

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