Greens miffed as HMDA plans e-auction of Ameenpur lake land

Deccan Chronicle.  | Tushar Kaushik

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Ameenpur lake. (DC File Photo)

HYDERABAD: Green activists have sounded alarm bells after Hyderabad Metropolitan Development Authority (HMDA) announced e-auction of several land parcels within the catchment area of Ameenpur lake. They alleged that this would adversely affect the substantial flora and fauna at the lake.

The HMDA has proposed e-auction of about 12 land parcels within the lake area and has termed it an ‘excellent opportunity for builders, developers, institutions, companies, corporate offices, individuals to build apartments, office complexes and houses in prime areas.’

Political strategist Mohan Guruswamy, via a post on a social media platform, highlighted the dangers posed to the lake due to the constructions. He states that the lake was the first water body in India to be recognised as a biodiversity heritage site by the Union environment ministry in 2002 and it is also the first biodiversity site to be approved in an urban area.

“It is a popular place for bird sightings and attracts birdwatchers and photographers from all over the world. Over the years, it has been squeezed by a ring of concrete as land sharks, most of them politicians, have grabbed land around it. It seems that the Telangana government is determined to reduce even that,” he states.

He said that various resident and migratory birds like flamingos, egrets, herons, cormorants, kingfishers and river terns visit the lake. Reportedly, the lake is home to eight species of mammals, 166 birds, 45 herpetofauna (12 amphibians and 34 reptiles), nine species of fish and 143 invertebrates (26 aquatic beetles, 41 butterflies, 18 odonates, 25 arachnids, and 33 other invertebrates).

Guruswamy said all the land parcels that the HMDA wants to auction are within the catchment area of the lake and some of them are right on the lake bed. “There should be no construction within 500 meters of the lake, but still structures keep coming up,” he said. He added that he had flagged the issue to MA&UD minister K.T. Rama Rao.

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