Tuesday, 31 January 2017

Telangana: GO 111 set for big fight at National Green Tribunal on Monday

By Udumula Sudhakar Reddy

A fight over GO 111 that had reached the National Green Tribunal will be coming up for arguments on Monday.

Lake protection activists had filed a petition against encroachments and illegal constructions in the restricted zone along Himayatsagar and Osmansagar and got a status quo order on constructions, which is being challenged by village sarpanchs and politicians who had impleaded in the case, seeking the appointment of a committee for fresh hydrological studies aimed at amending the GO or cancelling it totally.

The legal fight has now gained significance in the wake of Shamshabad being announced as a new district. The region has also become a hot-bed of real estate activity in Hyderabad.

GO 111, issued in March 1996, prohibits industries, major hotels, residential colonies or other establishments that generate pollution in the catchment of Himayatsagar and Osmansagar up to 10 km from the full tank level (FTL) of the lakes. This covers 84 listed villages falling in six mandals such as Shamshabad, Moinabad, Shabad, Shankarpalli, Rajendranagar  and Chevella.

Human Rights and Consumer Protection Cell Trust chairman Thakur Rajkumar Singh of Serilingampally filed a petition against the TS government, HMDA and Ranga Reddy revenue officials alleging that GO 111 had been violated and that there remains a clear threat to Himayatsagar and Osmansagar lakes due to construction of illegal buildings.

Mr Singh said, “The government itself had identified these illegal structures. Those who are against the GO are arguing that a committee has to be set up for a study. The GO has been tested in Supreme Court so we are arguing that it has to be strictly implemented. The case is up for arguments on Monday.”

The counter filed by Ranga Reddy collector in the NGT stated that a survey had been taken up by the panchayat staff based on the orders of the NGT in 84 villages falling within the purview of GO 111 to enumerate the structures and layouts in areas excluding gramkantam area (traditional village settlement area).

The district authorities informed NGT: “It was found that 426  layouts and 12,442  structures are currently in the GO 111 area of RR district... Shamshabad village with 2,981 structures and Palamakula village with 691 are the highest in number.”

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