Hyderabad: The road to hell is paved with good intention. It seems to be working mission statement of the GHMC, ever since it decided to dewater 20 lakes in the city ostensibly to clean them up. Experts say that so far, 19 out of the identified 20 lakes have been dewatered.
Once the GHMC dewaters (empties) the lake, pollutants from the lake can flow downstream into the next inter-connected lake, and eventually find their way into the Musi river, which not only ruin the river but also the agrarian and fishery development alongside its banks.
“Dewatering of any lake or water body is against the law. Since 2014, we have noticed the strategic dissolution of lakes in the city. While attempting to clean the lakes, all inflows to the lake are blocked or shut-off. The only way water can escape is through outflow ducts, which ultimately leads to the Musi river,” said Dr Lubna Sarwath, member, Save Our Urban Lakes.
Sharply criticising the GHMC and other civic bodies, members of the city’s green brigade say that precious little has been done to protect water bodies within the GHMC limits.
“The GHMC empties the lake claiming they would clean the lakebed. What the GHMC officials need to understand is that rainwater that enters a lake will be contaminated and eventually would flow into the Musi river.”
Activists argue that as per law, the GHMC has to give a notice to those living downstream about the dewatering. Residents living downstream say no such notice was even given to them.
According to activists, the dewatering of lakes is a ploy to reclaim land and pave the way for it to turn into real estate. “It is part of the government’s plan to encroach upon dried up lakebeds. It is a scam. The full-tank level (FTL) declaration is manipulated, leading to land encroachment.
“This is a big scam. First, the GHMC dewatering lakes. Then the officials rework the FTLs and usurp lands for commercial reasons. In places like Uppal, where the Nalla Cheruvu was dewatered, the government is now building a flyover over a natural water body,” said Srisailam Pitla, a green activist.
In fact, ever since the GHMC embarked on this disastrous enterprise, the waters of the Musi river have become so polluted that cows and buffaloes that graze along its banks and drink its water have reported reduced milk output. “If the state fails to prevent entry of such pollutants from city lakes to the river, it will ring the death knell of the river,” said Shankar, a resident of Edulabad.