Hyderabad: Despite a Supreme Court order to demolish all constructions in the full tank level (FTL) of Hussainsagar, and prevent new ones from coming up, the state government has embarked on building the Telangana Martrys Bhavan and will allow theme parks and islands to come up here.
The Hussainsagar FTL already hosts the Telangana Tourism office and commercial establishments including Imax and Eat Street, and amusement parks.
Responding to the report submitted by a three-member committee, the apex court in 2006 had told the government to stop all future constructions.
The three-member committee led by the late R. Rajamani, with R.C. Reddy and Sagar Dhara, had observed in 2005 that the size of the lake had been steadily diminishing, as it has been encroached upon, particularly after the 1930s and sharply after the 1960s.
The toposheets of 1974 show the lake size at 571.48 hectares and water spread of 487.75 hectares, the remaining 83.67 hectares going for lower
water spread and foreshore vegetation.
By 1996, the water spread had come down to 470.80 hectares, vegetation was 69.69 hectares and built up area of 30.92 hectares, totalling 571.42 hectares.
The erstwhile Hyderabad Urban Development Authority in 2000 notified an area of 549.32 hectares for the lake. Satellite imagery of 2002 shows the water body spread over 458.71 hectares, vegetation at 69.5 hectares and 43.21 hectares of built up area, totalling to 571.42 hectares.
Thus, in the years since India adopted environmental laws in 1974, the lake lost over 29 hectares of water spread, of which a major portion was in the built-up area, including roads and structures for parks.
SC says no new work in Lake area
The committee has recommended that the area to the east and south of Necklace Road encroached by food courts, including Eat Street, Jala Vihar, People’s Plaza and Huda food court, should be recovered and restored to the water body, or water tolerant trees should be planted there.
It follows therefore that these establishments should be relocated beyond the lake area. The car parks opposite People’s Plaza, the Necklace Road railway station and constructions to the north of the STP should be removed and the area greened with trees.
The report said Prasad’s Imax theatre was on land created from a part of the lake. Citing practicality, the committee recommended that the building may be used for creating a science and environment museum for children. This was endorsed by the apex court in its verdict of 2006.
This apart, it said that the approach road to the building from the NTR Marg-Necklace Road junction should be closed permanently and the approach may be from behind, or Mint Road may be used.
The Supreme Court stressed that no more new development should be taken up in the lake area including parks etc, mentioned earlier in the name of tourism, or foreign assisted projects for the development of the lake.
It stated that no public plaza or public meetings or entertainment should be in the lake or in its foreshore and vicinity as that only encourages further encroachment and pollution. Hoar-dings (which are encr-oachments of land and water), which disfigure the scenic environs of the lake, including its approaches, should be removed and not allowed in future.
Violating the recommendation made by the expert committee and instruction of the Supreme Court, the state government has asked the Hyderabad Metropolitan Development Authority to hand over 3.9 acres of land to the roads and buildings department to construct a six-floor memorial structure at the cost of Rs 80 crore!
Proposals are also in the pipeline to construct the theme park near Jala Vihar on 10 acres at an estimated cost of Rs 8 crore. The theme park under the shoreline improvement initiative, the HMDA has identified the land between Jala Vihar and PV Ghat for developing the park.
It will be equipped with elevated walkways, underpass, glass deck, lakeside deck, children’s play area, and so on. Also planned is an underwater aquarium where tourists can descend a few feet into the water to get a glimpse of aquatic life. When this reporter tried to reach state government officials for comment, no one was available....