Hyderabad: Hyderabad, where one-third of the country’s drugs are manufactured, is unfortunately being referred to as the “city with the most polluted lakes”, thanks to the pharma industry.
Over 300 bulk drug units in and around the city limits are violating the safe discharge norms of effluents. Topping the list of highly polluted lakes are the Kazipally lake and the Jellelavagu lake in Medak district.
Jasveen Jairath of Save Our Urban Lakes and her team of environment activists conducted quality tests in the lakes and found these two to have the highest levels of pollution.
Jairath said, “The cluster of drug units around these lakes were streaming effluents from their units through borewells directly into the ground. This was poisoning the groundwater and lake water.”
Several storm-water drains that crisscrossed the industrial area were aggravating the problem, she added. Meanwhile, the AP Pollution Control Board is failing to take strict action. An APPCB source said, “Notices are regularly issued to these firms and the APCCB task force meetings are held with owners of the violating firms. Beyond that, no action has been taken in the last two years.”
He added, “Though they claim to follow the ‘Zero Discharge’ method, not even 10 per cent of effluents from these drug units reach the Dundigal Landfill, where solidified effluents have to be dumped.
The method involves multiple-effective-evaporation, which is costly because of the electricity consumption. By avoiding this, the drug units also save on transportation and landfill charges at Dundigal.”
The APPCB has warned over 33 drug units against further pollution and ordered immediate measures. SMS Pharmaceuticals, Aurobindo Pharma, DIVI, Apex, Nylon, Sarca, Virchow, Dr Reddy Laboratory, Krishna Pharmaceuticals and Vishnu Pharmaceuti-cals are some drug units that are violating pollution control norms.
An environmental expert of APPCB said, “The quality of water in these lakes is equivalent to that of the effluents coming out of the drug units polluting it.”
Earlier, APPCB member secretary, Sanjay Kumar directed drug units to dismantle all below-ground level effluent storage tanks to prevent contamination of groundwater.
Next: State allows buildings on parts of Mushkin lake
State allows buildings on parts of Mushkin lake
Coreena Suares | DC
Hyderabad: Contravening the Supreme Court guidelines, the state government with the consent of the HMDA has ordered the conversion of Mushkin Cheruvu in Poppalguda village of Rajendranagar mandal in Ranga Reddy district to a residential site.
GO No. 419 issued by the department of municipal administrative and urban development in September 2013 clearly recommends conversion of land use from water body and green belt to multiple use in four survey numbers 255(P), 257(P), 258(P) and 260(P), within the full tank level of Mushkin lake.
The government order states, “No objections or suggestions have been received from the public within the stipulated period. It is reported by the HMDA commissioner in a letter that the applicant has paid an amount of Rs 42 lakh towards development charges. Hence, the draft variation is confirmed. It is also informed that survey no.s 255(P), 257(P), 258(P) and 260(P) of Poppal-guda are not covered under the water body of Muskin Cheruvu.”
While the HMDA data base still displays survey number 258 and 260 as Mushkin Cheruvu, Poppalguda village and the same is mentioned the Hyderabad Urban Development Authority master plan 2021 for Poppalguda zone segment.
Mushkin falls under the lake protection panel. The civic body has flouted its own rules and the SC guidelines to benefit private parties. It has been alleged that the conversion of the water body has been done on the recommendation of a politician and the approval of the HMDA. Even the satellite image of the area shows all three survey numbers — 258, 259, 260 — as part of the water area. For whom the land conversion is being done is not mentioned.
Environmentalist Chakri S. said, “The government has issued 10 orders in the past six years, permitting change of land use from water bodies to others. The latest was with regard to Mushkin Cheruvu.
At present, a wall has been built inside the water body. It is said that the permit has been given to a private builder on the recommendation of a politician. The issue was taken up by the Loka-yukta and the HMDA has been questioned on the same. However, nothing seems to have changed in the GO.”
The HMDA officials blame the government stating that the order was passed after several verifications and approvals from different departments.
However, no one wanted to go on record to comment on it.
Next: Durgam Cheruvu to get facelift
Durgam Cheruvu to get facelift
Kruthi Gonwar | DC
Hyderabad: Durgam Cheruvu is all set to get a major facelift and become pollution-free as various stakeholders have finally begun work on cleaning and beautifying the lake. An amount of Rs 50 crore, in three phases, has been earmarked for the development of ecotourism at the lake.
The AP Tourism Development Corporation has taken the initiative, along with the Hyderabad Metropolitan Development Authority, AP Infrastructure Industrial Corporation and the GHMC.
“This is being granted as part of the Central government’s financial assistance for the development of the lake. The project will be completed in three phases, which will include Rs 5 crore for destination development.
It will proceed with Rs 25 crore under the mega destination scheme and Rs 15 crore under the mega circuit. The initial Rs 5 crore has been approved and sanctioned and the works have begun,” said Madhu Sudhan, officer on special duty, tourism department, AP.
The first phase will include removing water hyacinth, avenue plantations, proper lighting and creation of pathways. “The government already has 21 acres of land, of which about seven acres has been leased out.
The rest 14 acres will be developed further alongside in the project, to make it useful for the public. More amenities are going to be created. Lake preservation will be our main focus and we will ensure that there is no damage to the full tank level,” he said. The APPCB has been put out of the project.