Hyderabad: Locals at Shamirpet, a tourist spot about 25 km from the city, woke up to hundreds of dead fish floating in the lake. The reason for the fish kill could not be identified with the Pollution Control Board, HMDA and the fisheries department passing the buck.
Locals suspect that the fish died due to the release of effluents for nearby institutions including a hospital upstream.
The lake was stinking on Sunday, “They should at least put bleaching powder. The stench will make our children sick,” said Mr Amar, a concerned local.
The Shamirpet sarpanch claimed that the fisheries department had been intimated and samples of lake water had been given for laboratory tests.
Asked about the fish kill, joint director of fisheries, Mr Rathod Shankar, said, “The fish are dying because of the heat, and the water is polluted.” He alleged that the locals had sold the dead fish.
Locals said BJP mandal president, Pavan Goud was the only representative from a political party to visited the site.
Lake protection activists were not surprised by the fish kill. They said such instances had occurred in other lakes but officials had ignored them.
“The government continues to be in denial regarding the condition of the dying lakes. They are converting the lakes into dumping grounds for mud and sewage, be it Malkam Cheruvu, Nallakunta, Raidurgam or Ibrahim lake,” said Ms Lubna Sarwath from Save Our Urban Lakes.
The activist lashed out against the Pollution Control Board for its lack of interest in monitoring pollution in lakes. Three months ago in February the Isnapur lake which is in an industrial zone had a massive fish kill.
The Pollution Control Board said that lakes were with the HMDA. PCB environment engineer Kumar Pathak said the PCB had not received any complaint regarding the lake.
A HMDA official said its jurisdiction was only until the boundaries of the lake.
Fishermen lose source of income
The nearly 400 fishermen who catch fish in the Shamirpet lake stand to lose their income after about 50,000 fish died over the past week.
Mr Bhikshapati, leader of the local fishermen group, said, “The fish began to die last Sunday. We did not worry much then. Today, the lake was full of dead fish.”
It was only nine months back, in October last year, that the animal husbandry and fisheries department released 1.32 lakh fish seed into the lake. Fishermen like Mr Bhikshapati said it helped increase the number of fish to over 5 lakh in two months.
“My family of five earning members made Rs 7,000 per day from fish sales. Now I do not know what to do,” he said.
A Save Our Urban Lakes activist said the government’s plans to beautify the lakes sou-nded the death knell for water bodies. “The fishing culture of the lakes has changed over the years. There was once shrimp in the Banjara lake. Nothing exists there now....