Legal Correspondent

HYDERABAD: A Division Bench of the High Court comprising Justice G. Raghuram and Justice Ramesh Ranganathan on Tuesday stayed the construction and land levelling activity at Bhavanapadu Thermal Power Plant in Santhabommali mandal of Srikakulam district for a period of three weeks.

The Bench directed the Chief Secretary to file authenticated maps showing the Naupada swamps, wetlands, creek and the location of the proposed power plant. The Bench was dealing with a writ petition filed by the Forum for Sustainable Development represented by environmental activist Captain J. Rama Rao.

The petitioner complained that the Ministry of Environment and Forests (MOEF) had granted permission for the coal-based thermal power plant in violation of the precautionary principle. The area was recognised as a wetland by the Forest Department and the National Environmental Policy and Prime Minister’s Action Plan had been advocating conservation of wetlands. A plan had been prepared for conservation of these swamps and a study at the behest of MOEF had recognized this area as being ecologically fragile, which needed protection.

Speed governors

A Division Bench of the High Court comprising Chief Justice A. R. Dave and Justice C. V. Nagarjuna Reddy on Tuesday directed the government to explain why it chose to keep the orders making the speed governors mandatory in abeyance. The Bench was dealing with a writ petition filed by V. Srinivas complaining that the government was acting whimsically in violation of the statute and putting people to risk. The petitioner said that on an earlier occasion a Division Bench of the court had directed the government to see that the speed governors were made mandatory. He said that a GO was issued directing the vehicles to have speed governors. He said the GO had been kept in abeyance.