PIL against government lease of prime land to NGO

15 acres land in Serilingampally leased out to Sai Sindhu Foundation

Challenging the leasing of 15 acres of land to Sai Sindhu Foundation in prime locality of the State capital’s western part near Hitec City, a Public Interest Litigation (PIL) petition was filed in Telangana High Court on Friday.

A Division Bench comprising Acting Chief Justice Raghvendra Singh Chauhan and Justice Shameem Akther, which heard the petition, sought the response of the government on the matter. Additional Advocate General B.S. Prasad requested the Bench for four weeks of time to explain the government’s stand. But the Bench directed the AG to file counter affidavit within two weeks as the counsel for the petitioner opposed granting of four weeks of time.

The petitioners, a septuagenarian doctor P. Urmila and sexagenarian lawyer K. Suresh Kumar, requested the court to declare as arbitrary and illegal the Telangana Government’s Order (GO) MS no. 59 issued nearly three months ago leasing out the land to Sai Sindhu Foundation.

‘Suspend GO’

The petitioners also sought the court to suspend the GO till their petition was disposed of. They requested the court to instruct the Greater Hyderabad Municipal Corporation, the Principal Secretary of Municipal Administration and Urban Development and the Disaster Response and Fire Services Director General not to grant any permissions to the structures coming up on those 15 acres of land.

Their prayer also included directing the respondents, Sai Sindhu Foundation, D. Parthasaradhi Reddy and Hetero Group of Companies not to erect any building on the land.

The three respondents should also be directed not to create any third party rights or alter the nature of the land leased to them, the petitioners said.

Paltry lease amount

According to the petitioners, the land allotment to the Foundation had violated the State government’s Land Allotment policy. It resulted in loss of nearly ₹5,345 crore to the State exchequer going by the market value of the land, they said. The land having market value of over ₹500 crore was leased out for 60 years for a nominal sum of ₹1,47,743 a year, the petitioners said.

The government order said the land was being leased out to the Foundation for 60 years to construct a hospital for cancer and other life threatening diseases. The lease can be extended by another 30 years with similar conditions and terms.

Detailed guidelines

The petitioners maintained that State government came out with Land Allotment Policy nearly seven years ago through the GO 571 which had detailed provisions and guidelines on giving away government land to individuals and organisations.

The lease rental clause of the policy mandates that lease rental should be 10% of the prevailing market value and it should be revised every five years. Further, the Sai Sindhu Foundation did not have any experience in running a hospital let alone a cancer hospital, the petitioners said.

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Printable version | Feb 22, 2020 12:08:29 PM |

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