Telangana High Court.
Hyderabad: The Telangana High Court on Tuesday directed the state government to file an affidavit within two days clarifying whether or not Vattinagulapally in Ranga Reddy district was covered by GO 111, or not.
A division bench comprising Chief Justice Satish Chandra Sharma and Justice Abhinand Kumar Shavili told additional advocate-general J. Ramachandra Rao that instead of submitting oral submissions about the non-catchment area in Vattinagulapally, the government should furnish a sworn affidavit stating the position. That would facilitate the court pass orders on the petitions with regard to officials rejecting building permission.
The bench was dealing with a petition filed by Agni AgroTech Pvt Ltd, Nimbha Biotech Ltd, Scorpio Bio Solutions and Skanda Aerospace Pvt Ltd. Their grievance was that the government was applying the recent GO69, which is meant to modify GO 111, on their parcels of land though they were located outside the catchment area of Osmansagar and Himayatsagar and were therefore outside the purview of GO111.
Representing the petitioners, senior counsel Kondam Vivek Reddy also argued that GO69 does not completely replace GO111. The new GO relaxed certain conditions but brought in a new committee. We have no idea what this new GO says about the non-catchment areas. We only urge this court to completely remove us from this new GO and its restrictions," the senior counsel said.
When the court inquired about the matter, AAG Ramac-handra Rao admitted that a huge portion of Vattina-gulapally fell outside the catchment areas of the twin reservoirs and hence were not covered by GO 111.
The Bench opined that it was sloppy on part of the concerned authorities to not take a concrete decision on the land parcels and leaving it hanging in the air. The bench directed the government to file an affidavit with a clear picture of land parcels in survey numbers of the Vattinagulapally, specifying which fell in the non-catchment areas and which ones were in the catchment area. The hearing was adjourned to April 28.
Environmentalists’ petition to Chief Secretary against GO69
Three environmentalists have complained to Chief Secretary Somesh Kumar against the process of repealing GO111 and issuing of GO69.
The three — Dr B.V. Subba Rao, Dr Narasimha Reddy Donthi and Prof K Purushottam Reddy —said in a letter to the Chief Secretary that GO69 was issued without regard to the report of the expert committee that had been formed to protect the Osmansagar and Himayatsagar reservoirs.
Another committee of IAS officers has been asked to submit a report to the government without mentioning the deadline for the same, the three noted.
"GO69, dated 12 April, 2022, does not clarify on the status of constructions and approvals in the interim period between 12 April, 2022 and the date on which the regulatory measures suggested by the committee are notified by the government," the environmentalists pointed out.
They said this ‘grey area’ can lead to physical and temporal changes in the catchment area of the lakes.
The letter also notes that the two lakes are the first line of defence for Hyderabad against floods, as were seen in the city in 2020 and 2021.
The letter requested the CS to withdraw GO-69 until the committee formulates guidelines and their report is approved by the government after consultations with the public. Until then, GO-111 may be allowed to be in operation, they proposed.