Telangana HC cautions officials to take water bodies protection seriously, summons Medchal Collector for personal appearance

Telangana HC cautions officials to take water bodies protection seriously, summons Medchal Collector for personal appearance

Taking a serious exception to the inaction of official machinery over protection of Ramanthapur Pedda cheruvu (tank) in Hyderabad, Telangana High Court on Tuesday instructed Medchal Malkajgiri district Collector to notify the water body’s Full Tank Level (FTL) or appear before it on Thursday. 

A bench of Chief Justice Alok Aradhe and Justice N.V. Shravan Kumar, hearing a PIL petition over declining number of water bodies in city and encroachment of FTL area of Ramanthapur tank, instructed the Municipal Administration and Urban Development Secretary to file affidavit in the matter. The bench also passed an order to implead Hyderabad Urban Development Authority (HMDA) in the plea as it was supposed to notify the FTL of water bodies. 

The CJ expressed dissatisfaction over the preparedness of Greater Hyderabad Municipal Corporation (GHMC) Commissioner Ronald Rose, who was summoned during the previous hearing to appear personally on Tuesday, to explain details of steps taken to protect the tank. In 2005, a professor of Osmania University K.L. Vyas wrote a letter to the HC seeking direction to call for records over declining number of water bodies from 430 to 170 in and around Hyderabad and illegal occupation of areas in FTL of Ramanthapur tank. 

The HC had taken up the letter as PIL petition eventually. When the CJ said the MA & UD secretary should file an affidavit in the matter, the government counsel sought four weeks of time. Declining the request, CJ Alok Aradhe reminded the counsel that the PIL was filed in 2005, seeking to know what was the official machinery doing all these years. GHMC Commissioner and IAS officer Ronald Rose informed the bench that survey was completed for demarcation of the FTL of the tank but it had to be notified. 

The CJ asked him when was the demarcation completed and the letter was sent. When the Commissioner replied the letter was sent to Revenue department in 2016 to issue notification, the CJ insisted to know the reasons for the delay in notifying the FTL area of the tank. Justice N.V. Shravan Kumar showing photographs presented by the GHMC in its reply to the PIL petition pointed out that the pics confirmed lot of garbage had accumulated at the tank. 

One of the pictures had shown a banner with the caption ‘do not dump garbage’ here. “You better clear the garbage and then put the banner,” the judge remarked. The CJ cautioned the officials, including the GHMC Commissioner stating that he would ask the Chief Secretary to take action against him if he failed to act, to take the matter seriously. The petition would be heard again on Thursday. 

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