The Hyderabad Metropolitan Development Authority (HMDA) has launched a campaign for the conservation and restoration of lakes in the city, in a bid to protect them from encroachments and pollution.

The HMDA has identified over 20 major and minor lakes in the city which face the threat of encroachment and poor maintenance, Sunil Kumar Gupta, member (Environment) of HMDA said.

In addition to major lakes like Hussain Sagar, Himayath Sagar and Osman Sagar, other lakes in the list include Durgam Cheruvu (tank), Banda Cheruvu (Malkajgiri) and Kapra Cheruvu, he said.

A Lake Protection Committee (LPC) has been formed with Collectors of Hyderabad, Ranga Reddy districts, senior officials of Greater Hyderabad Municipal Corporation (GHMC), and various departments as its members.

The LPC had decided to begin its task by listing all lakes in HMDA along with their maps and Full Tank Levels (FTL).

The Committee has also decided to mark the Survey Number falling in the FTL and within 30 meter radius from it.

The revenue authorities have been asked not to register any properties that may fall in the lake area, Mr. Gupta said.

For the protection of lakes, the LPC has sought provision of 40 policemen at the disposal of the Enforcement Cell of HMDA. The LPC has decided to go in for special drive for removal of encroachments.

Lake restoration works like desilting would be taken up under the National Rural Employment Guarantee Scheme. The state pollution control board has been asked to see that industrial discharges are not released into water bodies.

Neighborhood committees have been involved in the planning and implementation of the drive to conserve the lakes, Mr. Gupta said.

For the conservation of the picturesque Hussain Sagar lake, HMDA has declared the lake and its surrounding areas as a ‘plastic free zone’, thereby reducing the use of recycled plastics and attain zero usage of plastics.

Special task force teams have been formed to oversee the effective implementation of the programme every evening.

The LPC has also launched a ‘Lake Greening Programme’ under which 400 acres of plantation is aimed to be raised at an estimated budget. The programme was started recently at Osmansagar lake and will cover Himayathsagar also.

“This is an ambitious programme involving various agencies. We need to re-dedicate ourselves almost every day for the success of the programme. We are moving steadily but we hope to achieve concrete results,” Mr. Gupta added.

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