HYDERABAD: The High Court has recently dismissed a petition which sought stay on stone crushing at Somandepally village in Anantapur district of Andhra Pradesh, saying that there is no merit in the petitioner’s contentions and there is no danger to Velupu Konda Akkamma temple, which is situated atop a hill, since it falls outside the leased area.
“How are the lives of the students of the Kasturba Gandhi Girls School at Papireddy Palli village likely to be affected as alleged by the petitioner when the leased quarries are situated 500 metres from the said school?” the court asked. Justice M S Ramachandra Rao passed the order on a petition filed by Velupu Konda Akkamma Temple Charitable Society, represented by its president Bhila Naik, against failure of the AP government authorities concerned to stop three private companies from operating stone crushers in lands with survey number 743 admeasuring 9.7 hectares at Somandepalli and survey number 65/2B admeasuring 4.9 hectares at Velagamakulaplle.
The petitioner’s counsel told the court that quarrying had been causing pollution in the area and the blasting activities by the leaseholders (private companies) had been damaging houses in four surrounding villages. Besides, there was a school, Kasturba Gandhi Girls School, situated 10 metres away from the stone crushers and the school children were getting scared by the sounds of blasting which occurs day and night. Further, a temple was located on top of the hill which was more than 100 years old, and there was threat of damage to the temple due to quarrying activity, he contended.
Government counsel submitted that the land in possession was unfit for cultivation and was waste land free from encroachments and there were no trees, wells, tombs, residential houses or other permanent structures in the land. In fact, the subject land was located 500 metres away from National Highway-44 and 100 metres away from Papireddypally Cheruvu and 800 metres from Kasturba Gandhi Girls School. No objections have been received from farmers, he added.
The judge pointed out that there was no mention of the temple in the complaint lodged by the petitioner before the district collector. Besides, no material was placed to show that the temple had been in existence for more than 100 years. If there was any danger to the said temple, then the petitioner would not have missed it in the complaint.