Hyderabad: Rampant encroachment and construction and opportunities to legalise illegal structures have turned the city more flood-prone. This was evidenced in the deluge the city went through in the last two weeks. The absence of a natural drainage system has left the rainwater with no pathway to flow out.
A report compiled by the Geological Survey of India, after the floods that struck the city in August 2000 said: ‘The peripheries of many water tanks that existed in Hyderabad in the mid-I960s were converted into residential areas. As the necessity of land suitable for the residential purposes kept mounting during the population boom period in Hyderabad, the basic norms to be followed during the urban development have been violated.”
Experts from the Institute of Town Planners’ India (ITPI), Hyderabad chapter, say that it has now become easy for encroachers to usurp land within lakes and then apply for its regularisation.
“The construction boom is on par with the rise in the population in the area. As the opportunity for employment rises and offices are set up in the city the need for housing rises. This makes for a lucrative business for real-estate companies,” said a member of the ITPI.
It is not just illegal constructions that are being named as the cause of the floods, the report also lays blame on the improper disposal of construction and demolition debris.
“Most of the streams, canals and artificial drainage systems which are provided in the cities and metropolises in India are totally choked during flood times causing inundation of vast areas. The materials that choke the surface drainage are construction wastes (mortar, sand, and brick-pieces) and residential wastes. The municipal authorities should enforce strict laws prohibiting the builders from dumping construction wastes in public places,” it said.
Not to forget plastic. The report says that the callous dumping of plastic waste in natural drains leads to clogging. This, in turn, is choking the waste-water channels.