HYDERABAD: In a significant development, a division bench of the Telangana High Court on Wednesday accorded permission to the Greater Hyderabad Municipal Corporation (GHMC) and Telangana Pollution Control Board to close down 300-odd unauthorised plastic units and workshops, which are operating since 2012, at Shastripuram Colony in Katedan area on the city outskirts.
While directing the officials to file a report on the issue before the court by April 7, the bench warned that it would not spare the errant officials, who are letting the unauthorised pollutant industries function.
Pulling up the GHMC officials for their failure to take stringent action against polluting industries that have mushroomed at Shastripuram since 2012, the bench said, “The court will monitor the closure of all polluting industries at Shastripuram. Compensation should be paid to the residents of the area for making them breathe polluted air. Either the officials who deviated in performing their duties or the State government should pay them the compensation”.
In pursuant of an earlier direction of the court, GHMC Commissioner Lokesh Kumar and Deputy Commissioner Pradeep Kumar appeared before the bench comprising Chief Justice Raghvendra Singh Chauhan and Justice A Abhishek Reddy dealing with a PIL filed by Vinay Palnitkar and MA Rasheed, the residents of Shastripuram Colony.
They complain that the industries that have come up in the area have resulted in rampant air and water pollution, subjecting the locals serious ailments.
When the bench asked the officials to explain the steps taken by the GHMC with regard to the issue, Lokesh Kumar admitted that except for issuance of notices, the corporation has done nothing between 2012 and 2020 to close down the unauthorised plastic units. Given this, the bench directed the authorities to close down such units.
The GHMC Commissioner assured the court that action would be initiated against the said industries and a report would be filed before the court. While adjourning the case hearing, the bench also directed the GHMC Commissioner to file a report on the officials who allowed such industries to flourish. The bench also directed the lower court not to entertain the petitions by the polluting industries, if they approach it against the closure notices issued to them.