HYDERABAD: A public interest petition was filed in the AP High Court on Monday challenging the state government’s decision to grant Bayyarammining lease to RashtriyaIspatNigam Limited (Visakhapatnam Steel Plant). Petitioner PJayaPrakashaRao, retired associate professor ofOsmania University, and two others ofKhammam district, submitted that the government has granted mining lease in favour of the Visakhapatnam Steel Plant without obtaining the statutory clearances/approvals and following proper procedure.

About 5,342 hectares, which included reserve forest area located in Warangal and Khammam districts, for mining of iron ore had been leased out and all the villages concerned fall within the scheduled area, the petitioners said. Orders were issued in violation of Forest Rights Act and other statutes, they added.

Secretary to ministry of environment and forest, secretary to ministry of mines, secretary to ministry of tribal affairs, principal secretary to industries and commerce, principal chief conservator of forest and chairman and managing director of Visakhapatnam Steel Plant were named as respondents.

HC orders notices to minister, MLA:

The AP High Court on Monday issued notices to municipal administration minister M Maheedhar Reddy, Madanapalle Congress MLA Shajahan Basha and Madanapalle municipal commissionerSakuntala and sought an explanation from them as to why the court should not take up hearing of a petition that charged them with indulging in gross corruption and sought a CBI probe against them to unearth the disproportionate assets they made in the process. The bench comprising chief justice Kalyan Jyothi Sengupta and justice G Rohini gave six weeks time to the minister and other respondents to file their responses.

The petitioner, Uppu Venkatanarayana, a journalist, contended in his petition that the trio has made huge monies during the implementation of the building regularization scheme. This was precisely the reason why the minister and the legislator were protecting the municipal commissioner from being punished by the state government, which initially launched disciplinary proceedings against her and later kept quiet, the petitioner said. Despite serious allegations against her, which were confirmed by AP Lokayukta also, the state is not transferring her from Madanapalle, the petitioner alleged.

HC stays hike in land value in Nizamabad:

The AP High Court on Monday stayed the implementation of GO 157 dated March 30, 2013 enhancing the market value of the properties of Nizamabad urban and rural areas for five weeks. A division bench comprising chief justice Kalyan Jyoti Sengupta and justice G Rohini was dealing with a public interest petition filed by N Raja Reddy and another of Nizamabad challenging the government’s decision to enhance market value of the properties of Nizamabad with effect from April 1 this year.

The bench issued notices to all the respondents – revenue principal secretary, commissioner of registration and stamps, district collector, joint collector, RDO and others concerned of Nizamabad for filing counters and adjourned the case hearing by five weeks.