Hyderabad: On Thursday, the Telangana high court extended the temporary stay order on the demolition of buildings of the state secretariat till July 17.
A division bench, comprising of Chief Justice Raghvendra Singh Chauhan and Justice B. Vijaysen Reddy, heard the petition filed by professor P.L. Vishweshwar Rao and Dr Cheruku Sudhakar on July 10. They then put a stay order on the demolition till July 13.
Following this, stay order was extended till July 16 and the government was asked to submit the State Cabinet Resolution on the demolition.
The petitioners alleged that the demolition of the present secretariat complex which consists of 10 blocks, spanning approximately 10 lakh sq. ft., was being carried out without abiding by the law.
They also stated that the demolition of the existing structures is an “arbitrary action” on the part of the state government, given the current COVID situation, and that it would deprive approximately five lakh people of the surrounding areas of clean air.
Additionally, the petitioners alleged that the government’s act was against the Construction and Demolition Waste Management Rules (2016), Epidemic Diseases Act (1897) and the Environment Protection Act (1986), among other laws.
The Telangana Advocate General informed the court that the state government had taken necessary permission from the Greater Hyderabad Municipal Corporation for the demolition.
The court, while extending the stay order 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 the old secretariat on July 7, days after the High Court dismissed several PILs which challenged the state’s decision to construct a new secretariat complex by demolishing the existing one.
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 had initially declared that the new secretariat would occupy approximately seven lakh sq. ft. and would cost roughly Rs. 400 crores. The government also stated that they wanted to equip the new buildings with state-of-the-art connectivity and other modern facilities.