‘Save Our Urban Lakes’ celebrates its second anniversary

Six persons who are fighting in their individual capacities for the protection of various lakes in and around the city were felicitated by the lake protection collective SOUL (Save Our Urban Lakes) on its second anniversary here on Saturday.

Those honoured on the occasion include Pittala Srisailam and Pittala Ashok from Bibinagar, K. Someshwar from Saroornagar, secretary of Citizens’ Society Q. Annie Hasan, activist B.V. Subba Rao, and M. Mallikarjun from Vikarabad.

Apart from saving a lake in Ghatkesar from extinction in the National Highway project, Pittala Srisailam and Pittala Ashok are now actively involved in working for the protection of Bibinagar Pedda Cheruvu, the citation read.

K. Someshwar, along with his team, has been fighting for the last four years, for the protection of Chanda Lake in Jillelaguda village in Saroornagar, from encroachments. Dr. Annie Hasan is making efforts to bring official attention to the encroachments on Banjara Lake, while Dr. Subba Rao has written various books to create awareness on water pollution, and helped to renew a few dying lakes. Mr. Mallikarjun is trying to protect seven lakes in his village in Vikarabad, by building pressure on officials to act against encroachers.

Speaking on the occasion, the chief guest and director, CSIR-NGRI, Mrinal K. Sen, said the number of lakes in the city has, over the years, dwindled from the original 532 to the present 160. Even among the remaining, majority of the lakes have reached the ‘Eutrophic’ stage which indicates severe attrition in water quality due to concentration of sewage and effluents.

Mr. Sen was also critical of the multiplicity of departments and policies with regards to lakes, which, he alleged, are resulting in absence of holistic approach. Independent agency for lakes dedicated for conservation could resolve the issue, he felt. Outgoing convener of SOUL, Y. Panasa Rama Krishna, read out the annual report and cited restoration of Bachukunta in Chandanagar, Neerla Cheruvu in Kothaguda and Barlakunta in Indira Nagar, Gachibowli with citizens’ initiatives. Support of local residents is paramount for doing such work, he noted.

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