By LE Desk

Hyderabad, April 16: The less number of demolitions vis-a-vis the large number of illegally constructed buildings in different parts of the State capital suggested that GHMC officials were hand in glove with persons erecting such unauthorised structures, Telangana High Court said on Thursday.

A bench of Chief Justice Hima Kohli and Justice B. Vijaysen Reddy made this observation after perusing the details of the buildings identified as unauthorised and the demolitions carried out by the civic body, The Hindu reported.

The bench perused statistics furnished by GHMC Zonal Commissioners of Secunderabad, Khairatabad and Kukatpally. Zonal commissioners of L.B. Nagar, Charminar and Serilingampally failed to present details despite the bench’s direction issued during the previous hearings.

The bench had gone through the separate reports filed by the three zonal commissioners. They were presented before the court as per the bench’s directions issued while hearing a batch of PIL petitions on illegal structures in GHMC area. Citing Secunderabad zonal commissioner report, CJ Hima Kohli said the authorities demolished only 28 out of the 139 illegally constructed buildings in the zone spread over different GHMC circle office jurisdictions.

Referring to the finding of the report that lower courts issued interim orders in the remaining 111 illegal structures, the bench sought to know what action the authorities had initiated to get the court orders vacated. Justice B. Vijaysen Reddy drew the attention of the CJ to the fact that in one GHMC circle area, courts had issued status quo orders in 42 out of 46 illegally constructed buildings.

The judge also observed that in the guise of demolition of unauthorised structures, the authorities are only making holes on the buildings facilitating owners of the buildings to go ahead with the construction. The CJ made it clear to the government that once a structure is identified as an illegal one, the officials must ensure that it is razed and reduced to rubble.

The bench said that expenses of the demolition of illegal buildings should be collected from the pockets of the respective owners. “Why we should not think that you are turning a Nelson’s eye to illegal buildings,” the CJ said. Referring to the interim or status quo orders issued, the bench directed the lower courts to finalise the petitions pertaining to unauthorised structures expeditiously in reasonable time.

The court said that GHMC should have a system to monitor and streamline all court cases. Referring to charge memos issued to four employees in Khairatabad zone, the CJ asked what action was taken against them after issuing charge memo, according to The Hindu.

Observing that demolition of illegal structures by GHMC was only “cosmetic”, the bench instructed all the zonal commissioners to file fresh status report on the court cases, action initiated against erring officials and demolition of the illegal structures.

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