Hyderabad: Taking a serious note of the continued encroachment of numerous lakes in the city, the National Green Tribunal (NGT) has slammed the Greater Hyderabad Municipal Corporation (GHMC) for failing to take stringent measures to prevent such encroachments.
While the GHMC claimed that it had initiated measures such as deploying the Lake Protection Force and installed CCTVs at the entry and exit points across the lakes, the NGT rebuked the civic body stating that these measures remained only on paper and that no practical steps were taken to curb lake encroachments.
The GHMC had previously submitted a report on encroachments within the Full Tank Levels (FTLs) and buffer zones of the city’s lakes.
According to the report, there were 8,718 encroachments within the FTLs and 5,343 within the buffer zones. The GHMC also claimed to be working to remove the encroachments.
While noting that serious steps were not taken in letter and spirit by the GHMC, the NGT directed officials from the irrigation department and the district collector to submit a detailed report on the number of water bodies and their encroachments, as well as the future course of action to be taken to restore and protect the lakes.
Meanwhile, Purushottam Reddy, a city environmentalist, expressed his displeasure, saying, “NGT is lamenting that nothing has been done. The NGT established a rapid response mechanism. What prevents the NGT from holding a hearing on court conduct? The state government has failed to comply with an earlier NGT order. This is not the first time the state government has disobeyed a court order.”
Further, the environmentalist noted that several cases had previously been filed regarding Musi pollution, Jawaharnagar garbage, and water body protection. “My contention is that neither the Supreme Court nor the NGT issues a compliance order. Nothing will happen unless the court puts the Chief Secretary and the municipal commissioner behind the bars. What prevents the NGT and the Supreme Court from putting the Chief Secretary behind bars if he does not comply with the NGT or the Supreme Court order,” he questioned....