Move to repeal GO irks environmentalists

The two reservoirs, were ecological necessities, and without them, summers would be more severe, says Environmentalists

HYDERABAD: Chief Minister K. Chandrashekar Rao’s announcement in the Assembly that the government would repeal GO 111 seems to have kicked a hornets’ nest as environmentalists and rights activists have taken up the cudgel against the Chief Minister’s decision.

They say the government will find it tough to legally withdraw the order, and that the GO was very much needed to protect the two reservoirs of Osmansagar and Himayatsagar.

The GO 111 was issued by the erstwhile AP government in 1996 to protect the catchment areas of the two reservoirs, as they were the primary sources of drinking water for Hyderabad.

Environmentalist Dr Subba Rao said the objectives of the GO went beyond the protection of the two reservoirs. “It ensures a sustainable water resource management. We declared in 1946 that Hussainsagar water was unfit for drinking and 10-15 years ago, we did the same for Manjeera. Even the Godavari waters may become unfit with time, who knows?” he said.

Dr Rao added that the reservoirs were part of the only zero-energy water distribution system in the country, where no water was pumped from the sources, and hence they were completely infused into climate change adaptation. “The Central government must intervene to strengthen GO 111, considering India’s role in climate change stability,” he added.

Environmentalist Prof K. Purushottam Reddy said the GO had legal backing in the form of a Supreme Court judgement. “The law of the land is clear, it (the decision) is foolish on part of the ruling party. The state government behaves as if it is not bound by judicial orders,” Prof Reddy said.

He said the two reservoirs, along with hundreds of other lakes, were ecological necessities, and without them, summers would be more severe. The GO is very important because it prevents any polluting activity within 10 km of the backwaters of these two reservoirs, he said.

Prof Reddy said additionally, under the doctrine of implied powers, the state government was duty bound to protect the entire Musi river right from its mouth in Vikarabad. “Right now, only a statement has been made. But we are very serious. I am sure the people of Hyderabad will go all out and make a common cause for the protection of these two water bodies,” he said.

All about GO 111

* To prohibit polluting industries, major hotels, residential colonies or other establishments in the catchment of the lakes up to 10 kms from full tank level

* To monitor periodically the level of pesticides and fertiliser residues carried into the lakes.

* HMWSSB conducts studies through agencies like JNTUH or UoH at regular intervals and review the results once in six months

* To prevent acidification of lakes due to air pollution

* Total prohibition of location of industries in the prohibited zone

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