Hyderabad: An environmentalist has alleged the encroachment of 10 acres of the full tank level (FTL) of Hussainsagar on the Necklace Road side, along the Kukatpally nala. The encroachers have laid roads and barricaded the area, which is invisible from the ground level but can be seen in satellite images.
Ms Lubna Sarwath, co-founder, Save Our Urban Lakes (SOUL), said she had conducted a field level survey on January 19 and found that the encroachment was within the FTL.
She said that the encroachments were verified with documents from the Catchment Area Development (I&CAD) office at Secunderabad. “Plotting has been done, tar roads laid, barricades have been put up and construction is going on,” Ms Sarwath said, providing the geographical locations of 17.437191, 78.466102. The area was denoted as ‘pillars A279 to A287’ as per the ‘draft’ FTL map given by the North Tanks Division of the I&CAD, she said. She sought eviction of the encroachments.
Neither the GHMC nor the HMDA were aware of the encroachment and constructions. When Deccan Chronicle alerted both the nodal agencies, they passed the buck to each other. GHMC officials cited jurisdiction issues but agreed to check the construction on Saturday. A HMDA official claimed that the construction does not fall under the FTL level and the revenue department was responsible for the constructions.
There is a long background to the issue of land.
A three-member committee led by late R. Rajamani and comprising R.C. Reddy and Sagar Dhara in 2005 in their report — the gold standard to measure encroachment around the Hussainsagar — had stated that the Act of 1975 nowhere mentions water or water bodies. Even ‘land’ has been defined as including “benefits to arise out of land, and things attached to the earth or permanently fastened to anything attached to the earth.”
Neither the Urban Development Authority (Hyderabad) Rules notified on April 21, 1977, under the Act of 1975, or the Bhagyanagar (now known as Hyderabad) Urban Development Authority Zoning Regulations 1981 notified on September 3, 1981, mentions water bodies. In the latter, there are definitions for ‘water course’, ‘minor water course’ and ‘major water course’ and refer to storm water carrying channels. There is no further reference to them except that in the description of ‘Recreational Use Zone’ ‘water fronts’ are also mentioned.
In the HUDA map, notified in GO 381 of 23-6-1980, the words ‘water bodies’ have been used, and the map shows ‘Osmansagar’ and ‘Himayatsagar’ as water bodies. In the MCH area ‘Hussainsagar’ has been shown.
In view of the revenue classification and the provisions of the Irrigation Act like the Telangana Irrigation Act, it appears the clear intention was to have a distinct classification of water bodies which would not be subject to the same rules and regulations as other land uses, sources said.
The issue of the notification by HUDA in May 2000 seems to be the result of subjecting lakes and water bodies to land use regulations....