Hyderabad: Despite Telangana High Court’s directive to stop any additional development of lands in Kokapet, Hyderabad Metropolitan Development Authority (HMDA) is going ahead with infrastructure works in this prime area.
A division bench of the High Court had on Wednesday ordered HMDA to cease work till the high-power committee constituted to study the relevance of GO 111, which proscribes construction of buildings in catchment areas of Osmansagar and Himayatsagar reservoirs on outskirts of Hyderabad, submitted its report. Until then, the court directed that an escrow account be opened to park Earnest Money Deposit (EMD) of Rs 700 crore received prior to auctioning of Kokapet lands, as well as subsequent money raised through auction of these lands.
The bench, headed by Chief Justice Hima Kohli, who has since become a judge of the Supreme Court; further directed the state government and HMDA to inform the court about what all infrastructure the civic authority has created on Kokapet lands prior to auctions, such as putting in place sewage treatment plants, storm water network, roads, power lines and drinking water pipelines.
“Till then, this court stays your hands from utilising Rs. 700 crore (and auction amount) in any manner. You will not be able to touch the money till you demonstrate that all works cited have been created,” Hima Kohli has stated.
Officials of the metropolitan authority, however, maintain that the HMDA is only taking up interchange at Movie towers on western side of Kokapet layout with a rotary, grade separator or trumpet road, apart from underground ducts for laying cable and sewer and drinking water network at an estimated cost of Rs. 600 crore. Another rotary interchange is planned at Janwada, which would match with the proposed grid roads of the master plan. Both interchanges fall in between the busy Financial District and Kollur on Outer Ring Road (ORR).
In addition, HMDA is going ahead with Rs. 500 crore works related to construction of underground sewer, cable and drinking water lines, a 100-feet road in Kokapet layout, which has been already auctioned for Rs. 2,000 crore.
When queried about violation of court orders, a senior HMDA official, requesting anonymity, maintained that these works had been planned earlier than the auction. Hence they would not attract court orders. He further said these projects are just an extension of interchanges on outer ring road (ORR) and would cut short the distance for commuters travelling from Narsingi to Shamshabad by 6.8 km.
When asked about ongoing construction of 100 feet roads and other civic infrastructure despite court directions, the official refused to comment, saying the information cannot be shared with this newspaper.