Visakhapatnam: Environmentalists have raised concerns about illegal construction in the catchment area of Mudasarlova Reservoir, which is one of the primary sources of drinking water for residents of Vizag.
According to environmentalists, the water crisis during the winter season is mostly man-made. The coming summer months are going to be difficult for the denizens, they say, adding that the district administration and civic bodies should take several measures to protect water inflows into Mudasarlova.
Former energy secretary and convener of Forum for Better Visakha E.A.S. Sarma said that both VMRDA and GVMC have remained totally insensitive to the ominous situation developing at present in the city.
He said, “It may look as if the crisis is entirely on account of inadequate rains, but it is a typical case of inaction on the part of the government bodies, for which the people of Vizag are paying the price.” Mr Sarma continued: “The GVMC should remove encroachments within the catchment of Mudasarlova and in and around Kambalakonda Sanctuary. The town planning officers are in connivance with the encroachers and building approvals were given illegally.”
The former bureaucrat pointed out that hospitals in the Med City in Arilova are sucking out groundwater excessively, causing depletion of the water stored in Mudasarlova. The GVMC should immediately review the position and impose stringent restrictions on groundwater exploitation, he said.
The Union ministry of environment had notified an area of 30.51 sq. km in 14 villages of Chinagadili and Anandapuram mandals around Kambalakonda Wildlife Sanctuary as an eco-sensitive zone. This covers entire catchment of Mudasarlova Reservoir.
However, this notification was not strictly enforced by the government authorities to safeguard the future of the city and its people. There is a man-made reservoir within Kambalakonda Sanctuary, known as Sambhuvanipalem Reservoir, which was also damaged. The local forest officials are accused of colluding with a film studio.
Environmentalists had filed a complaint before the Central Empowerment Committee appointed by the Supreme Court. The authorities may explore the possibility of using the water stored in that reservoir for the city.
The municipal authorities should display long-term vision in planning water management, rather than indulging in knee-jerk reactions to the crises, that do not solve the problems permanently, Mr Sarma said.
The GVMC is busy fire-fighting, ignoring the long-term impending crisis, he said.