Environmentalists stepped up their opposition to the state government's move to repeal GO 111. (DC file photo)
HYDERABAD: Environmentalists stepped up their opposition to the state government’s move to repeal GO 111. Members of Hyderabad Democracy Forum said they would not accept any decision except to extend the GO, and would not hesitate to take legal action in case the government went ahead with its proposal.
Addressing the media, Prof K. Purushotham Reddy, an expert in environment policy and governance, said while the government’s argument to repeal the GO on the ground that there was plenty of water available from the Krishna and the Godavari rivers, the fact was that the two reservoirs - Osmansagar and Himayatsagar - were built as flood control reservoirs.
Dr B.V. Subba Rao, technical member, reservoirs and lakes, water domain, Bureau of Indian Standards, said the state government was planning to shift several chemical industries to the catchment areas of Osmansagar and Himayatsagar, while 32 mineral water bottling firms in the area were extracting groundwater and depleting the base of the reservoirs. He questioned why none of the leaders from the non-ruling parties had spoken against the government’s move.
Referring to the government’s claim on availability of water from the two rivers, Dr Subba Rao said there was no guarantee of availability of the Godavari water forever as it was also used by several other regions. In addition to this, he said multiple reports on pollution of the Godavari as well as the Krishna waters had also surfaced. He demanded that the government should declare the entire catchment area of 2,076 square km as a ‘green conservation zone.’
Convener of Indian National Trust for Art and Cultural Heritage (INTACH) and a member of the forum, Anuradha Reddy, questioned the absence of information, public hearing or maps put out by the government before making a decision on the GO.
Dr Subba Rao said in case the GO was repealed, they would approach the High Court, and if needed, even the Supreme Court or the International Water Tribunal. Summing up their concerns, Purushotham Reddy said, "We don’t want Hyderabad to become another Cape Town" which has been wracked by drought.