Demanding justice to people living within 10 km radius of Osmansagar and Himayath Sagar, the ‘GO 111 Porata Samithi’ on Tuesday filed a public interest litigation petition in the High Court seeking a directive to the authorities to provide basic amenities in the area. The leader of the Samithi, P Karthik Reddy, said that lakhs people living within a radius of 10 km from Osman Sagar and Himayath Sagar had been denied civic amenities citing the stipulations under GO 111 of 1996.
Giving details, he said that the GO was issued on March 8, 1996 by the Government (erstwhile Andhra Pradesh) to prohibit various developmental activities within the 10 km radius (up and down streams) of the Osman Sagar and Himayath Sagar lakes based on the recommendation of an expert committee, which was constituted by the government. Subsequently a memo was issued on July 16, 2007 by the Municipal Administration and Urban development Department regulating developmental activities in downstream areas like Kondapur, Gachibowli and Shaikpet up to 10 km radius of the two lakes.
The implementation of these orders were discriminatory and it was being implemented in violation of all the established norms of rationality, uniformity and in violation of the Fundamental Rights (Articles 14, 16, 19(1)(g), 21) guaranteed by the Constitution of the India. The petitioners sought the appointment of a committee of experts comprising persons having vast experience to make a comprehensive study on the prohibited areas referred to in GO No 111 to safeguard and protect the rights of the people living in the catchment areas of the Himayath Sagar and Osman Sagar lakes, Karthik said.
The implementation of the order was discriminatory and in violation of the principles of natural justice and fair policy, and against all established norms of rationality and uniformity, it was pointed out. The expert committee constituted was legally not valid as it comprised heads of regulatory bodies like the Telangana State Pollution Control Board, Greater Hyderabad Metro Development Authority, Greater Hyderabad Municipal Corporation, Hyderabad Metropolitan Water Supply and not those from the field of Ground Water Resource Management and environmental engineers.
Madanapalle and Peda Toopran villages of Shamshabad mandal, well within the 10 km radius of the two lakes, were excluded for the reasons best known to the respondents. Upon implementation of the GO, people living in the catchment areas had been treated as second grade citizens, with no schemes being made available to them in view of the policy of the Government.
From the date of implementation GO 111, the government had strictly restricted developmental activities in the catchment areas (very near to Hyderabad city) of the two lakes, though they lacked schemes for improving living standards of the people. The standard of living of people residing in catchment areas of these two lakes was declining day by day due to lack of facilities to meet important needs like education, employment and shelter.
In order to protect the interests and rights of the people residing in the catchment areas, several farmer organisations and NGOs protested to lift, reduce the contour of the areas specified in the GO. But it was not being done due to legal hurdles, it was mentioned.