The demolition of the Telangana Secretariat has been extended by another day, till July 16, by the state High Court on Wednesday over lack of environmental clearance.
The Court has asked the state government to clarify its stand if demolition work requires environmental clearance from the Ministry of Environment.
A division bench of Chief Justice Raghvendra Singh Chauhan and Justice B Vijayasen Reddy, on Wednesday resumed hearings on the petition challenging the demolition work.
Advocate General B S Prasad submitted to the court a copy of the resolution passed by the cabinet to demolish the existing buildings of the Secretariat to build a new complex.
The petitioner's counsel argued that environmental clearance was not taken for the demolition work. The state government, however, contended that there is no need for environmental clearance, and that the permission was taken from the Greater Hyderabad Municipal Corporation (GHMC).
The bench asked the state government to inform it on Thursday whether demolition work requires environmental clearance.
The court on July 10 had temporarily stayed the demolition work till July 13. However, as the government failed to submit a copy of the cabinet resolution, the stay was extended till July 15.
The petition has been filed by Professor P L Vishweshwar Rao, Convenor, Telangana Democratic Forum and Vice President of Telangana Jana Samithi.
He complained that the demolition of 10 blocks of the Secretariat building occupying 10 lakh square feet was being done without following due procedure laid down under the Demolition and Construction Rules.
The petitioner said that in the existing COVID-19 situation, the demolition impacts and aggravates the respiratory problems of the people living in the surrounding area.
The government started demolition of existing buildings of the old Secretariat on July 7.
It was on June 27 last year that Chief Minister K Chandrasekhar Rao had laid the foundation stone for the new Secretariat. Subsequently, the Secretariat was temporarily shifted to BRK Bhavan.
The opposition parties, some heritage activists and concerned citizens had opposed the construction of the new complex, terming it a wasteful expenditure.
The High Court on June 29 dismissed petitions challenging the government's decision to raze the old buildings and build a new complex in its place, ruling that building a new Secretariat is a policy decision by the government and the court can't interfere with it.