HYDERABAD: The High Court on Thursday fixed a deadline of September-end for the state government to decide on delineation of non-catchment areas from the purview of Government Order (GO) 111 that is to safeguard the twin reservoirs of Osmansagar and Himayatsagar. The 1996 order was aimed at prohibiting commercial and high-rise residential activities in a 10-km radius of the reservoirs.
A division bench comprising Chief Justice Hima Kohli and Justice Vijaysen Reddy directed the government to end the confusion among landowners, whose land holdings were included in GO 111, though they did not come under the watershed area of the reservoirs.
By the end September, the government must resolve the issue. Otherwise, the landowners in non-catchment areas have the liberty to approach the court and get building permission. At that time, the government will have no right (to prevent construction), the court ruled.
The court sharply criticised the government for the four-and-a-half year delay in the high-power committee report. The committee was constituted in 2016 to examine the relevance of GO 111 given the rapid development around the city and availability of drinking water from Krishna and Godavari rivers.
It is important that the Chief Secretary, chairman of the committee, submit the report to the government latest by September 13, the court said.
“If the report is not submitted by the HPC on the said date, then the committee itself will stand disbanded,” the High Court said in the directions passed on Thursday.
The court asked the committee to consider the May 2006 report of EPTRI (Environment Protection Training and Research Institute), in the context of the non-catchment area delineation from GO 111. The institute suggested that around 948 acres of land in Vattinagulapally village does not fall under catchment area and can be exempted from the GO 111.
The institute had made several suggestions on other 84 villages, which fall under the purview of GO 111. All these recommendations were ignored by the government.
The HPC report should be placed on the website of the department of municipal administration and urban development (MA&UD). The government should examine the report in light of the EPTRI May 2006 report, and take a decision before the end of September, which shall be circulated and uploaded on the MA&UD department website by October 3. The court will hear cases related to GO 111 on October 4.