Hyderabad: The Telangana High Court on Thursday directed the state government to stop being indecisive about the issue of whether to go for a new construction for the Osmania General Hospital (OGH). The Court asked the government to make up its mind and take a final decision.
“You may either proceed further as per an earlier decision to construct a new hospital in the existing place or go for construction in a vast vacant place available in the premises,” the court said.
Expressing “displeasure” at the government for keeping the issue pending for six years despite several petitions and listings before the Court, Chief Justice Hima Kohli observed that “this type of ambiguity cannot be maintained for long time”.
A division bench comprising Chief Justice Hima Kohli and Justice B. Vijaysen Reddy was dealing with several PILs, some of which were filed seeking protection for the existing heritage structure of the OGH while another set sought that the Court direct the government to construct a new hospital building in the existing place and premises.
When the Court asked why the government was taking so much time in taking a decision, Advocate General B.S Prasad submitted that the state government was ready to construct a new building in place of the existing OGH, within the existing premises. He said that due to these legal hurdles, regarding the heritage structure, the government could not proceed further.
The Bench asked the AG why if land was available, the government has not allotted funds so far to construct a new building. It directed the government to make up a clear mind.
“If the government had taken a decision a while ago, new constructions would have come up by now,” the CJ observed.
Senior Counsel Sarasani Satyam Reddy submitted to the Court that since a threat of demolition looms large over the heritage wing of a nearly 100-year-OGH structure, it is important to bear in mind that going by the Errum Manzil judgment of 2019, the OGH still remains a protected heritage monument.
The Court assured that the structure was protected till a further decision by the Court. The Court faulted Advocate General Prasad for “not complying with earlier orders”, in which the Court had asked the government to submit a site plan of the OGH, including Google maps, to get an understanding of how much vacant space was available in the premises. It directed AG to submit them by next hearing.
Some of the petitioners contended that of the 25 sprawling acres area of the OGH premises, heritage structure was spread over only around two acres, so it can be protected. New constructions can be made to house a new OGH in the remaining space, they argued....