Right to access public property will be curtailed due to high tariff barrier, he says
A Supreme Court order based on the judgment of a case related to Haryana on January 28, 2011, sent to Andhra Pradesh government along with other State governments, prohibits it from giving away public property for development or utilisation circumventing the ‘Doctrine of Public Trust'.
The proposed development of Bhavani Island in the middle of Prakasam Barrage reservoir in the River Krishna in Public Private Partnership mode through a 33-year lease will be a clear violation of the Supreme Court order, alleged former Union Energy Secretary E.A.S. Sarma. The right to access the public property of a commonman will be curtailed as the ‘high tariff barrier' to reach the island would become the basic impediment.
This interference in the right of the commonman has been sited by the court as creation of a socio-economic barrier for accessing the natural resources of the country. The former Energy Secretary told The Hindu that the act of the State government to give it to the influential people such as Minister Ganta Srinivasa Rao was not legal and large-scale development proposed would meddle with the ecology of the area.
“We are bestowed with some such beautiful natural islands close to the densely populated city, which should be protected at all costs leaving it in its present form with minimal intervention by not constructing any infrastructure there,” said Mr. Sarma.
A copy of the proposed works to be taken up by the Pratyusha Associates Shipping Private Limited of Visakhapatnam as a part of the lease gives jitters to the people as it stipulated construction of hotels, resorts, amusement parks, construction of 25 additional cottages in addition to existing 24, a conference hall to hold 200 people, new restaurant, a golf course, a swimming pool, health spa, yoga and meditation centre, a water treatment plant, jetties, on shore parking facility at Berm Park, and water treatment plant.
All this is being done even before getting a clearance from the River Conservator from the Irrigation Department.
The ‘Doctrine of Natural Justice' specifies that majority people should be able to access the facility, but the APIIC, which had been given the job of developing infrastructure, was involved in promoting luxury tourism and villa culture, said the Opposition parties.
Pollution of the river due to this activity is another aspect which needs to be taken into consideration as the fresh water resources would be completely destroyed.