HYDERABAD: Terming the government’s technical committee report as ‘vaguely worded’ on viability of the existing buildings in the State Secretariat, a division bench of Telangana High Court on Wednesday directed the petitioners’ counsels to establish if there were any violations, both statutorily or constitutionally, by the State government while taking policy decision to demolish the existing blocks and construct a new complex in its place.
“We are not engineers, hence cannot question the wisdom of the technical committee headed by the chief engineer of roads and buildings department. The committee will decide whether a particular building has to be demolished or not. It is for the petitioners to establish violations if any, and whether any provisions of the law have been ignored by the government while taking such a decision so that the court can intervene,’’ the bench observed. The bench made these observations while dealing with PILs filed separately by Congress MLA T Jeevan Reddy, advocate T Rajinikanth Reddy and the Forum for Good Governance, represented by its secretary M Padmanabha Reddy, seeking to grant a stay of shifting the offices of Telangana Secretariat to other buildings and demolition of existing structures.
Additional advocate general J Ramachandra Rao while placing the technical committee report in the court, submitted that except for D and H block buildings, all other blocks have no life span and there were deficiencies even in the said two blocks with respect to fire safety, plumbing, electricity etc. The committee had recommended the government to construct new buildings. In fact, there were no requisite facilities in case of fire accidents in the existing buildings, hence the government has decided to build a new integrated Secretariat complex. When the bench asked about the architectural plans of the proposed new complex, the AAG said the plans were not put on hold because of the court’s recent direction to the government not to demolish the existing buildings.
Disputing with the submissions of the AAG, advocate T Rajinikanth Reddy, appearing for one of the petitioners, pointed out that the technical committee has not suggested for the demolition of the existing buildings. The government’s decision to demolish all the eight blocks, including D and H blocks, was nothing but a waste of taxpayers’ money as the proposed constructions would cost about Rs 1,000 crore.