Saturday, November 28, 2015

Is there a way to save the vanishing lakes in Hyderabad and Secunderabad?

The other day, when I was at the billing counter of the supermarket waiting in a rather long queue, I overheard something strange and kind of alarming. This guy on phone was apparently a new entrant to Hyderabad and was very excited and loudly describing his new beautiful flat, location, facilities etc. It kind of struck me when he was telling the person on the other side that he’s happy that there are no heavy rains in Hyderabad since he heard that his colony gets affected as it adjoins a lake, and by all accounts, his must be one of those ‘lake-view’ apartments encroaching the lake…My guess was perhaps he was talking to someone in Chennai and the havoc caused by recent rains. Yes, everybody has their problems and perceptions, I told myself and moved on carrying the shopping bags to the parking area, but how can one wish away rains? 

Ok, even if it rains copiously, will these lakes get saved? What about the promises of tourism department, the civic bodies; what about the concerns raised by environmentalists? How can we save the remaining water bodies from drying up completely and getting exploited for various commerical reasons? Is there a way to stop the toxicity and pollution? What is stopping people from acting on the plans and proposals - like the ones listed below? 

Just a day before, the Times of India carried an interesting story on the lakes in Hyderabad and Secunderabad and the sordid state of affairs that brought these lakes to the present predicament.  The way the lakes are getting denuded by the way and becoming sewage tanks and dumping yards is the way the city has grown unplanned and unorganized, not being able to protect the gifts of nature.

The lake I drive by everyday, is one such victim and I wonder why it can’t adopted or cared for by  large corporate houses or the Rahejas, or the ILabs or the upcoming ITC 5-star hotel. How else can such lakes be revived as restored? At least the stories about Durgam Cheruvu that come in media are at best, giving all hope!

The topography of Durgam Cheruvu is interestingly carved out and one wonders  how little time it took for this beautiful and scenic surroundings to degenerate into a cesspool!  The once-beautiful lake is surrounded by rocks, residential complexes, independent houses, software MNCs, restaurants, a soon-to-be-coming-up ITC 5star hotel, a huge big mall and of course a sewage treatment plant. It is the same story with other lakes like Malkam Cheruvu in Raidurg and Amber Cheruvu in Pragathi Nagar and many others.

Here’s a quick recap of local and national news with some highlights about plans, promises and the resultant predicament, particularly for Durgam Cheruvu:

Encroachments  and the threat to the rockscape

Making it pollution free

Plan for suspension bridge and rope way that never took off

Grants, funds and hidden reasons for not implementing the plans

I may be concerned about Durgam Cheruvu because of my long association with this area but I'm equally concerned about the plight of other lakes in the twin cities.

Picture courtesy: Times of India article on 26th November 2015

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