High Court extends stay on demolition of Telangana secretariat till July 17

Hyderabad: The Telangana High Court on Thursday extended the temporary stay on demolition of buildings of the state secretariat till July 17.

A division bench, comprising Chief Justice Raghvendra Singh Chauhan and Justice B Vijaysen Reddy, hearing a petition filed by Prof P L Vishweshwar Rao and Dr. Cheruku Sudhakar, had on July 10 ordered stay on the demolition till July 13.

Later the stay was extended till July 15 directing the government to submit the state cabinet resolution on the demolition in a sealed cover.

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Again on Wednesday it extended the stay by one day.

The petitioners alleged that the demolition of the present secretariat complex consisting of 10 blocks, approximately 10 lakh sq ft, was being done without following the due procedure of law.

The government’s act is against the Construction and Demolition Waste Management Rules 2016, Epidemic Diseases Act 1897, and the Environment Protection Act 1986, among other laws, the petitioners alleged.

The Telangana Advocate General informed the court that the state government has taken necessary permission from the Greater Hyderabad Municipal Corporation for the demolition.

The court while extending the stay on Thursday directed the Centre to submit a reply on whether environmental clearance was required for demolition of the secretariat complex.

The K Chandrashekhar Rao-led Government began razing to the ground the old secretariat on July 7, days aftertheHighCourtdismissed a bunch of PILs challenging the state’s decision to construct a new secretariat complex by demolishing the existing one.

The petitioners alleged that the demolition of the existing structures is an “arbitrary action” of the state government in a pandemic situation, and deprives five lakh, people of the surrounding areas, from getting clean air.

After the High Court cleared the decks for the construction of the new secretariat, the demolition of the old secretariat building complex began and the foundation stone for the new one was laid on June 27, 2019.

The state government earlier indicated that the new secretariat which would come up in about seven lakh sq ft would cost around Rs 400 crore and it had decided to equip the new one with state-of-the-art connectivity and other features.

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