Telangana HC refers Secretariat demolition to centre

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In a new twist to the demolition of the Old Secretariat building in Saifabad, the Telangana High Court on wednesday directed the central government to submit a reply on its stand on the environmental issues with regard to the demolition of the Secretariat complex.

Hearing a petition filed by retired professor P L Visheshwar Rao, the High Court once again extended the stay on demolition of Old Secretariat building till July 16. The petitioner, through his counsel, contended that the KCR government went ahead with the demolition of the Secretariat complex in violation of the Construction and Demolition Waste Management Rules 2016, against the Provisions of the Epidemic Diseases Act 1897 and against the provisions of the Environment Protection Act 1986, among other laws. On its part, the state government argued that environmental clearances were not required for demolition of buildings. Further, the AG had put forth arguments that the Telangana government got necessary permission from the Greater Hyderabad Municipal Corporation for demolition of the Old Secretariat building.

On June 28, the Telangana High Court gave its nod to demolish the old Secretariat building complex. Following this, the Telangana government began the demolition activity. At least 60 per cent of the old Secretariat, spread over 25.5 acres with 10 blocks, was razed to the ground. In the meanwhile, P L Visheshwar Rao filed a petition seeking the High Court directions to halt the demolition works. The petitioner had earlier argued that the building was being demolished in violation of Covid-19 regulations. The petitioner also contended that the demolition has led to air pollution at a time the twin cities of Hyderabad and Secunderabad are seeing an alarming rise in Covid-19 cases. Such demolition has led to severe breathing problems for the residents in Saifabad area.

Hearing a petition filed by retired professor P L Visheshwar Rao, the High Court had put brakes on the demolition of the old Secretariat building on July 10. The High Court again directed the Telangana government to stop the demolition works till July 15.

Already, 60 percent of the old Secretariat building, spread over 25.5 acres with 10 blocks, which began in the early hours of June 7 had been razed to the ground.

Almost all the 10 blocks of the building had already been razed to ground, including the Saifabad Palace which was built in 1888 in European style by Mir Osman Ali Khan, seventh Nizam and the last ruler of erstwhile Hyderabad State. The Saifabad Palace once the seat of Nizam’s Prime Minister till Hyderabad”s accession with the Indian Union in 1948.

The G-Block, also known as Sarvahitha from where N T Rama Rao discharged his duties as chief minister was also demolished. The C-Block and the H Block which served as the offices of former CMs Marri Channa Reddy and Chandrababu Naidu respectively were razed to the ground.

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