HC extends stay on Telangana secretariat demolition till July 15

Hyderabad: The Telangana High Court on Monday extended the temporary stay on demolition of buildings of the state Secretariat till July 15.

A division bench of Chief Justice Raghvendra Singh Chauhan and Justice B Vijaysen Reddy, hearing a petition of prof P L Vishweshwar Rao and Dr Cheruku Sudhakar, had on July 10 ordered thestay till July 13 directing the government to submits its counter with all necessary details that were pointed out by the petitioners.

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 court, while extending the stay, directed the government to submit in a sealed cover the cabinet decision on the demolition.

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 decision to construct a new Secretariat.

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

On June 29, the court had dismissed PILs challenging the state’s decision to construct a new Secretariat complex by demolishing the existing one.

After the High Court cleared decks for the construction of the new Secretariat, the demolition of the old 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.