Allegedly under pressure from powerful politicians, chief minister N Kiran Kumar Reddy on Tuesday approved a controversial decision to change land use of a large chunk of land in Ranga Reddy district falling under the environmentally sensitive zone for residential purposes. The change of the land use from ‘conservative use’ to ‘residential use’ zone through a GO was violative of earlier GO 111 and court orders, claimed sources.
GO 293, issued by the municipal administration department on Tuesday, changed the land use of 33 acres of land in Janwada village in Shankarapally mandal in Ranga Reddy district into residential use zone. According to experts, this goes against GO 111 issued in March 1996 which clearly states that no developmental activity can take place in the catchement areas of the lake bed of Osmansagar and Himayatsagar water bodies.
Shankarpalli, in which the land in question falls, is close to Osmansagar and one of the 84 villages that are protected by GO 111 and where development activity in the form of commercial activity, polluting activity and large residential buildings cannot come up. The Supreme Court too has laid down several restrictions on developmental activity in the tank bed and areas within 10 km radius of Osmansagar and Himayatsagar water bodies and clearly prohibited change of land use from agriculture to any other.
The change of land use committee headed by IAS officer TS Appa Rao (former principal secretary, MAUD) in its meeting in January this year recommended the proposal to change of land use from conservation zone to residential zone. “But municipal minister M Mahidhar Reddy is not happy with the committee recommendation and sent the file to the chief minister for a final decision. Surprisingly, the CM has okayed this proposal. This can set a precedent for change of land use in the conservation zone,” pointed a senior official in the government.
According to the sources, two powerful ministers and a close relative of Kiran Kumar Reddy played a part in the land conversion. “The department acted on the recommendation given by my predecessor Appa Rao. I have not taken any fresh decision on that,” B Sam Bob, principal secretary of municipal administration, said.