Telangana

Irrigation unit officers told to take court cases seriously

Non-serious approach by officials of Irrigation Department unit offices causing increasing pendency in court cases against projects. Farmers of Erravalli on relay fast on the bund of Mallannasagar, part of Kaleshwaram Lift Irrigation Project, in Siddipet district.

Non-serious approach by officials of Irrigation Department unit offices causing increasing pendency in court cases against projects. Farmers of Erravalli on relay fast on the bund of Mallannasagar, part of Kaleshwaram Lift Irrigation Project, in Siddipet district.   | Photo Credit: File photo

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Delay in providing required information adding to pendency

The Irrigation Department has asked its unit officers/administrative heads — Engineers-in-Chief, Chief Engineers, Deputy CEs, Superintending Engineers and Executive Engineers — to act swiftly in filing affidavits, counter affidavits and clarifications on remarks to reduce pendency of cases pertaining to irrigation projects in courts and tribunals.

A communication to the effect has been sent to the unit officers in the first week of this month by Engineer-in-Chief (Administration) B. Nagendra Rao following a meeting convened by the Chief Justice of the High Court on December 28 last to discuss about the pending cases of various State government departments. The delay in filing counter affidavits, affidavits and giving clarification on remarks has been resulting not only in the courts passing remarks against the officials concerned by delaying the project works too.

“We have seen how the delay in filing affidavits and counter affidavits has resulted in the courts/tribunals making harsh observations and remarks against the officials concerned and passing orders against the government during the last couple of years, particularly in cases pertaining to Kaleshwaram, Palamuru-Rangareddy and a few other lift irrigation projects. Timely filing of information and clarifications would have avoided such remarks in several instances,” a senior engineer said unwilling to be quoted.

Poor follow up

Official sources in the Irrigation Department stated that a large number of cases pertaining to projects were still pending in courts due to delays on part of the administrative heads in filing the affidavits and clarifications. The Government Pleader for Irrigation Department had observed after the meeting held by Chief Justice that the officers responsible were not pursuing the pending cases properly and effectively in the High Court by not providing relevant information and documents in time.

Another complaint/observation from the Government Pleader and Assistant GP was that lower level staff was being deputed to attend court matters and they were unable provide the details required to make effective submission of information sought by the courts.

Responsible staff

To overcome such situations, the ENC asked the administrative heads to depute the engineers responsible along with the support staff to appraise facts to the Government Pleader to speed up the cases. Further, they have been told to “follow up with the GP/AGP to file affidavits and clarifications so as to file affidavits and clarifications in pending cases in time to avoid issuance of summons to higher officials (senior engineers) by courts”.

When asked about the number of pending cases, the officials did not give exact figure but stated that “it runs into hundreds”.

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Printable version | Jan 29, 2020 8:13:29 AM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/national/telangana/irrigation-unit-officers-told-to-take-court-cases-seriously/article30551478.ece

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