Hyderabad: More than half of the 84 villages that fall under the catchment area of the city's two prime sources of drinking water, Osmansagar and Himayatsagar, may be excluded from GO 111, that bars construction activity within 10-km radius of the lakes.
The three-member committee appointed by the TS government to review GO 111 is learnt to have found that several villages that do not pose any major threat to the lakes were brought under the purview of GO 111 by the TD government in undivided AP in March 1996. Successive governments have attempted to dilute GO 111.
Chief Minister K. Chandrasekhar Rao made a public announcement on the government’s plans to review GO 111 when Congress’ Medchal MLA from K. Yadaiah and TD’s Ibrahi-mpatnam MLA Manchi-reddy Kishan Reddy, defected to the TRS and sought scrapping of GO 111, saying that locals were demanding it.
The government is of the view that with Krishna and Godavari water reaching the city, the dependence on these two lakes for drinking water needs has come down drastically.
As a prelude to this exercise, the TS government has stopped supplying drinking water to the city from these two lakes even though both of them got inflows due to the heavy rains in September last year.
The Chief Minister had directed Water Board officials not to draw water from these lakes and instead utilise Krishna and Godavari water. This earned the ire recently of MIM floor leader in the Legislative Assembly Akbaruddin Owaisi.
Last year, the Chief Minister constituted the committee of three senior IAS officers — Mr S.P. Singh, who is now chief secretary, Mr S.K. Joshi and Dana Kishore, to review GO 111.
The Ranga Reddy district administration did the survey of 84 villages last year. The report it has submitted to the government reportedly says that 12 villages in Moinabad mandal and 45 villages in Shamshabad mandal can be excluded from GO 111.
The committee of IAS officers examined the report, and is learnt to have suggested that the government relax GO 111, excluding some villages, instead of scrapping it altogether as that may have legal implications because of earlier Supreme Court and High Court rulings, besides the National Green Tribunal. A case is already pending in the tribunal over the issue.
The committee's report is being examined by the Chief Minister who is expected to take a decision soon. Two attempts made earlier, one by the YSR government and the other by the Kiran Kumar Reddy government, to relax GO 111, proved futile due to stiff opposition from environmentalists who approached the courts, accusing the government of diluting the GO to benefit realtors and politicians.