Hyd residents face inundation threat as civic bodies fail to free water bodies

Hyderabad: City-based environmentalists have accused civic bodies and government departments of defying National Green Tribunal (NGT) orders, issued in 2021, by failing to protect two water bodies, Kotha Cheruvu and Bandamkommu Cheruvu, and the channel between them, from encroachments.

The NGT order was a consequence of a petition filed by civic activist Thakur Rajkumar Singh, who said the encroachments were affecting around 50 colonies located the two lakes.

On August 27, 2021, the NGT asked officials to restore all floodwater nalas flowing from Kotha Cheruvu to Bandamkommu Cheruvu to their natural state. It directed the authorities to demolish constructions in the buffer zone and nalas between the two lakes.

A team of officials — G. Veera Reddy, additional collector of Sangareddy; J. Krishna Rao, executive engineer of lake protection committee; P. Madhusudhan Reddy, executive engineer of irrigation department (Sangareddy division 1); RDO C. Ramesh Babu; HMDA planning officer D. Yadagiri Rao; Ameenpur municipal commissioner A. Sujatha; G. Udaya Bhaskar Rao, deputy engineer of IB, Patancheruvu; and tahsildar B. Vijay Kumar — conducted an inspection on September 1 and 2 in 2021.

They noticed encroachments and constructions in the floodwater stream and its buffer area, diverting the surplus course by dumping of soil which reduced its width, partially obstructing the flow of water. They submitted that the alignment of the surplus course was not shown in the revenue village map or irrigation department map.

The team informed the NGT that in Survey No. 315, Lalitha Constructions had constructed a clubhouse-like structure, in the alignment of surplus channel and buffer zone. In Survey No.s. 350 and 351 of Ameenpur, one Vemulamada Kumara Swamy had constructed three individual residential buildings that partly affected in the buffer zone.

“During recent rains, due to the obstructions created in the natural water path by dumping of soils and also due to construction activity taken up by the respondents has resulted in inundation/water logging of nearby colonies. Citing this, a letter was addressed to HMDA to cancel the review of the building permission,” the team submitted to the NGT.

Officials said that a private person was granted permission by then gram panchayats of Ameenpur and directed the district panchayat officer of Sangareddy to cancel the same.

However, two years since, the NGT order has remained on paper.

Sangareddy tahsildar P. Dasharath said that the orders were issued to the assistant engineer concerned to remove encroachments recently.

Asked about the delay in implementation, he said he took charge only three months ago.

Engineers of the irrigation department said they were not aware of the encroachments and that teams would be sent for an inspection. “We are not aware of the issue. We will find out and take appropriate action,” said executive engineer Madhusudhan Reddy.

Despite multiple attempts, HMDA officials were unavailable for comment.

Petitioner Singh said that despite bringing the encroachment issue to the notice of authorities, the representations were ignored. He said that the encroachers began the construction in the full tank level area during the Covid-19 lockdown in 2020 and completed the construction of over 1,000 units in three towers recently.

  • A petitioner approaches NGT complaining of encroachment of Kotha Cheruvu and Bandamkommu Cheruvu.
  • Tribunal seeks report
  • Officials survey lakes in September 2021, find encroachments and constructions in floodwater stream and its buffer area
  • Alignment of surplus course not shown in the revenue village map or irrigation department map.
  • Clubhouse-like structure found in surplus channel, three residential buildings partly affect buffer zone.
  • Team tells NGT these obstructions had resulted in inundation and water logging of nearby colonies.
  • Two years later, there is still no action.
( Source : Deccan Chronicle. )
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