IN THE HIGH COURT OF ANDHRA PRADESH : AMARAVATI
HON’BLE MR. JUSTICE ARUP KUMAR GOSWAMI, CHIEF JUSTICE
HON’BLE MR. JUSTICE NINALA JAYASURYA
WRIT PETITION (PIL) No.313 of 2020
(Taken up through video conferencing)
Gajjala Ankal Reddy, S/o. Sidha Reddy,
Aged 49 years, Occ: Agricultural Coolie,
R/o. H.No.5-5-147, Ulimella Village,
Pulivendula Mandal, YSR Kadapa District.
The State of Andhra Pradesh,
Rep. by its Principal Secretary,
Revenue Department, Secretariat,
Guntur District and another.
Counsel for the petitioner : Mr. P. Nagendra Reddy
Counsel for respondents1,2,4 &5 : Mr. Kasa Jaganmohan Reddy, Spl.GP
Counsel for respondent No.3 : Mr. J. Ugranarasimha
Date of hearing : 15.09.2021
Date of judgment : 24.09.2021
(per Arup Kumar Goswami, CJ) Heard Mr. P. Nagendra Reddy, learned counsel for the petitioner. Also heard Mr. Kasa Jaganmohan Reddy, learned Special Government Pleader appearing for respondent Nos.1, 2, 4 and 5, and Mr. J. Ugranarasimha, learned standing counsel for respondent No.3.
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2. The case of the petitioner in this public interest litigation is that the Revenue Divisional Officer, Jammalamadugu, YSR Kadapa District, the fourth respondent herein, had acquired Acres 563.00 cents of land, including the land of the petitioner, in Gundlamadugu Village, Thondur Mandal, for the purpose of industrial development by Andhra Pradesh Industrial Infrastructure Corporation Limited (for short, ‘APIICL’), the third respondent herein. However, the third respondent did not develop the land into an industrial area on the ground of not receiving environmental clearance from the Central Government.
The District Collector, YSR Kadapa District, i.e., the second respondent, passed an order dated 16.02.2020 resuming land admeasuring Acres 227.53 cents from the third respondent on the ground that in spite of lapse of considerable period of time, the third respondent did not utilize the said land. It is averred that such resumption was taken recourse to utilize the resumed land for distribution of house site pattas to eligible beneficiaries under the scheme ‘Navarathnalu – Pedalandariki Illu’ and that the Tahsildar, Thondur Mandal, YSR Kadapa District, the fifth respondent herein, had prepared a layout for distribution of house site pattas to 6,446 beneficiaries of Pulivendula Municipality.
It is pleaded that the petitioner and other villagers were under the bona fide expectation that with the establishment of industries, employment opportunities will be generated and local people will be gainfully employed, but once house site pattas are distributed, there will be no prospect for industrial development in that area and thereby, job opportunities will be lost for the local people. It is also averred that the procedure prescribed under the Board Standing Orders was not followed while passing the resumption order dated 16.02.2020.
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3. It is in the above background, this public interest litigation came to be filed.
4. In the counter-affidavit along with the vacate stay petition (I.A.No.1 of 2021) filed by the second respondent – District Collector, YSR Kadapa District, it is stated that land to an extent of Acres 825.27 cents was allotted to the third respondent in the years 2008, 2009 and 2016 for establishment of industrial development park, but the third respondent had failed to develop the land for the said purpose. It is also stated that major part of the land allotted to the third respondent is Government land and that the same is lying vacant without serving the purpose for which it was allotted. It is pleaded that as the land was not utilized by the third respondent, a show-cause notice dated 06.02.2020 was issued to the Zonal Manager, APIICL, calling for an explanation as to why the land shall not be resumed for violating the conditions of allotment by not utilizing the land for the purpose for which it was allotted even after 12 years.
In response to the said show-cause notice, the third respondent had stated that out of the land allotted to it, land admeasuring Acres 192.00 was allotted to six industrial units after development of industrial park and that once layout approval and environmental clearance are obtained, there may be prospect for industrial development. As the response was not satisfactory, the impugned order dated 16.02.2020 was passed resuming Acres 227.00 from the third respondent. It is pleaded that the resumption order was passed in accordance with law and such resumption was made in order to facilitate providing of house sites to eligible beneficiaries.
5. In the counter-affidavit filed by the third respondent-APIICL along with the vacate stay petition (I.A.No.2 of 2021), it is stated that due to delay in obtaining Gram Panchayat resolution conveying no objection for 4 HCJ & NJS,J W.P(PIL).No.313 of 2020 change of land use, further process of submission of proposals for approval of layout was delayed and subsequently, on receipt of such resolution, proposals were submitted for approval of layout and an application was also made to the State Environmental Impact Assessment Authority for environmental clearance and that the same is under process.
It is also pleaded that the Government of A.P., vide Memo dated 21.06.2021, has agreed to provide alternative land for industrial development and accordingly, issued instructions to the District Collector, YSR Kadapa District, and on such allotment of alternative land, the same will be utilized for industrial development, which will fulfil the purpose of industrialization and will create avenues for local employment.
6. The second respondent – District Collector, YSR Kadapa District, has also filed an additional counter-affidavit endorsing the averments made in the counter-affidavit of the third respondent regarding issuance of Memo dated 21.06.2021 by the Government for providing alternative land to the third respondent for industrial development.
7. Mr. P. Nagendra Reddy, learned counsel for the petitioner, submits that a Mega Industrial Hub at Kopparthy, YSR Kadapa District, along with Electronic Manufacturing Cluster, is in the process of being established, which is about 55 kilometres away from the subject lands. He has further submitted that in view of what is stated in paragraphs 9.1, 9.2 and 9.3 of the counter-affidavit filed by the third respondent, the grievance expressed by the petitioner has been substantially addressed.
8. Mr. Kasa Jaganmohan Reddy, learned Special Government Pleader appearing for the State respondents, and Mr. J. Ugranarasimha, learned standing counsel for the third respondent, submit that allotment of house 5 HCJ & NJS,J W.P(PIL).No.313 of 2020 sites to deserving beneficiaries also serves a public purpose and keeping best interest in mind, some portion of the unutilized land was resumed from the third respondent and since Mega Industrial Hub would act as a watershed for industrial development and local employment for the entire YSR Kadapa District, this public interest litigation may not be entertained any further.
9. In the light of the submissions made by the learned counsel for the parties, it will be appropriate to refer to paragraphs 9.1, 9.2 and 9.3 of the counter-affidavit of the third respondent, which read as under:
“9.1. It is submitted that thus out of the total extent of Acres 825.27, 262.27 Acres in Rachumarripalli Village of Pulivendula Mandal and an extent of 563.00 Acres in Gundlamadugu Village of Thondur Mandal, Y.S.R. District, Acres 220.59 was allotted to several allottees and Acres 305.30 allottable area will be available with this respondent for industrial park development by duly obtaining approvals from the competent authorities.
9.2. The Government of A.P in Revenue dept. have vide Memo No. Rev01-LANA0LAND/120/2021-
LANDS.VI dt. 21.06.2021 has agreed to provide alternate land for industrial development and accordingly issued instructions to the District Collector, YSR District. These lands will be utilized by APIIC for industrial development and for furthering employment opportunities. Therefore, the avowed purpose of 6 HCJ & NJS,J W.P(PIL).No.313 of 2020 industrialization and local employment are thus being fulfilled.
9.3. It is further submitted that the corporation has been taking steps for development of Industries in the district and as such is in the process of developing a Mega Industrial Hub at Kopparthy, YSR Kadapa along with Electronic Manufacturing Cluster (EMC) sanctioned by the Government of Andhra Pradesh as per G.O.No.87 dated 01.12.2020 and G.O.Ms.44 dated 26.08.2020. The Government Revenue have alienated an extent of Acs. 598.92 and Acs. 93.99 vide G.O.Ms.No.50, Revenue (Lands-VI) department dated 03.03.2021 and G.O.Ms.No.53, Revenue (Lands-VI) department dated 03.03.2021 respectively for this purpose on free of cost (Total Acs. 692.58). The said EMC is being developed under the EMC Modified Electronic Manufacturing Cluster EMC 2.0 scheme of the Government of India with 50% project cost funded by the Government of A.P.
This Mega Industrial Hub in Kopparthy is located about 55 Kms from the subject lands and the subject lands can act as watershed for the industrial development and local employment for the entire district. Further special incentives, over and above the ones provided by the Industrial Policy 2020-23, have been extended to encourage faster industrialization of the area and presently companies like M/s Dixon Technologies Ltd. are in the process of implementation of the 11 projects.
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That avowed purpose of faster industrialization and creating employment through encouraging investment in the district are well being undertaken by this respondent.”
10. In view of the aforesaid averments and having regard to the submissions made by the learned counsel for the parties, we are of the considered opinion that this public interest litigation need not be pursued any further and accordingly, the same shall stand disposed of.
11. Interim order dated 24.12.2020 shall stand vacated. Pending miscellaneous applications, if any, shall stand closed. No costs.