Hyderabad: A division bench of Telangana High Court comprising Chief Justice Hima Kohli and Justice B. Vijaysen Reddy on Wednesday warned the state that it would not allow the government to utilise Rs700 crore which it had fetched through auction of 94 acres of land at Kokapet until the report furnished by the high-power committee was submitted to the court. The committee was constituted vide GO. No. 839 dated 7-12-2016 to examine the exemptions of certain lands from the purview of GO 111.
The bench was furious over the non-furnishing of the report by the high-power committee for the past four-and-a-half years, since it was constituted to study and examine the GO. 111, that prohibits constructions within 10-km radius of Osmansagar and Himayatsagar lakes, the main sources of drinking water for Hyderabad city for several decades. The committee was given the task to submit the report within 45 days, but, so far it has not furnished the report.
Justice Kohli said, “This court will not allow recovery of the money or utilise Rs700 crore in any manner. You will not be able to touch the money till you demonstrate that you created all sewerage and storm STP works cited and submit the report furnished by committee.”
J. Ramchander Rao, additional advocate general, sought four days’ time (till Monday) to get clear instructions from the government on this issue and assured the court that he would request the committee to submit its report and prayed the court to believe his pleadings.
However, the court did not accept his request and observed, “Though the committee was constituted more than four-and-a-half years ago, till today, the report has not seen the light of the day. This act of yours is something curious. Your past conduct has not impressed this court. Your committee doesn’t seem to be interested in submitting the report and we won’t give that much time. We are giving 24 hours’ time on your request. But, inform the government that it is going to be directed to create the escrow account to put the Rs700 crore or whatever you have received or will receive from the auction of Kokapet land. It will not be allowed to touch the money until the report is furnished and the works of infrastructure setup related to sewage and STP at the auctioned lands are completed.”
On being directed to give clarification on the fate of GO 111, in the light of a news report of Chief Minister’s statement on revocation of the GO, the additional advocate general submitted to the court that the CMO clarified that the government would pursue the issue only after the report of the high-power committee is submitted. “The Chief Minister never said that it will be revoked,” the AAG submitted....