NGT constitutes panel to probe KTR farmhouse ‘expansion’

Joint committee to have members from Central and State governments

National Green Tribunal Chennai bench has constituted a joint committee of Central and State government officials to inspect the area where Telangana Minister K.T. Rama Rao allegedly expanded his farmhouse in violation of GO 111 and earlier orders of the Tribunal Principal Bench.

A bench of NGT comprising Judicial member K. Ramakrishnan and Expert member Saibal Dasgupta passed the direction after Malkajgiri Congress MP A. Revanth Reddy filed a petition accusing the Minister of violation of laws. The joint committee formed by the Tribunal will have a senior officer of Union Ministry of Forests, Environment and Climate Change (Chennai Regional Office), Rangareddy District Collector and a senior officer from Telangana Pollution Control Board as its members.

GHMC Commissioner or any senior officer not below the rank of superintending engineer deputed by HMWS&SB Managing Director, a senior officer not below the rank of superintending engineer of Irrigation and Command Area Development and SE of Hyderabad Lakes and Water Bodies Management Circle will also be in the committee. It would inspect the area where the farmhouse was allegedly expanded.

The Tribunal, in its order, said the committee should submit a factual report on the matter and the action taken report, if any. It would examine if the orders issued by the NGT Principal Bench in Human Rights and Consumer Protection Cell Trust vs the State of Telangana and others were violated in the process of the alleged expansion of the Minister’s farmhouse. The committee would give recommendations and suggestions for removal of any encroachment of the nearby water bodies, the bench said.

The MP accused the Minister of undertaking illegal construction in the Bio Conservation Zone in the catchment area of Osmansagar, a lifeline for drinking water zone in the State capital. In its earlier order, the NGT Principal Bench categorically stated that all construction activities in the zones mentioned in GO 111 are prohibited till further orders.

The MP charged that the Minister’s alleged action would affect the water storage capacity of Osmansagar and Himayatsagar water bodies as well. The joint committee constituted by the Chennai bench would ascertain if any steps were taken to fix the High Tidal Line (HTL) of the lakes. It would find out if any construction or development activities, which were banned, were taken up in the buffer zones and what is the stage of their implementation.

Hyderabad Lakes and Water Bodies Management Circle will act as nodal agency for co-ordination and providing all logistics for conducting the inquiry. The petitioner Mr. Revanth Reddy was directed to implead Rangareddy District Collector as the party in the petition.

The committee has been directed to submit a report to the Tribunal within two months.

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Printable version | Jul 5, 2020 9:18:00 PM |

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