A Lake Protection Authority (LPA) is on the anvil for effective protection of the water bodies in and around Hyderabad. The Law Department is seized of the matter and an Act will be in place very soon.

“The LPA will have statutory powers and help in better enforcement of the lake protection rules,” said B.P. Acharya, Metropolitan Commissioner, HMDA.

He was speaking at the launch of the Save Our Urban Lakes (SOUL), an initiative undertaken by concerned citizens for protecting the city's water bodies, here on Saturday.

The government had recently formed a Lake Protection Committee with himself as chairman, Mr. Acharya said.

The 17-member committee was tasked with listing of all lakes along with their FTL in HMDA area, removal of encroachments and preparation of action plan for desilting and inflow channels.

Expressing concern at the degradation of water bodies, Mr. Acharya said of the 169 lakes in the HMDA core area, 87 required intervention. And of these, 18 were most polluted. Osmansagar, Himayatsagar and Hussainsagar figured top in the priority list for development of green belt.

Next in priority were 10 lakes where boundaries would be demarcated and encroachments removed. They are Durgam cheruvu, Banda cheruvu (Malkajgiri), Thammadi Kunta (Madhapur), Amber cheruvu , Hasmathpet cheruvu (Kukatpally), Yellamma cheruvu, Bhagarathi cheruvu, Mysamma cheruvu (Serlingampally), Ramanthapur cheruvu and Kapra cheruvu.

In the third priority are 8 lakes where excess sewerage inflow would be diverted and STPs built.

They include Banjara lake, R.K. Puram cheruvu, Pedda cheruvu, Nalla cheruvu (Uppal), Mir Alam Tank, Satam cheruvu and Nalla cheruvu (Moosapet).

In the new master plan being finalised, there was a separate chapter on climate change. Issues like rising night temperatures and increased frequency of copious rainfalls were addressed, Mr. Acharya said.

He said FTL stones were being prepared meticulously with the help of GPS. Green buffer was planned around lakes and once ready, it would be declared reserved forest. The measures taken so far had yielded good results and the ecosystem restored to some extent.

The Hussainsagar was being cleaned up with Rs. 310 crore outlay from JICA. Mainly, it was the Kukatpally nala with its 220 mld effluents that polluted the lake. “Hopefully, in eight months, city will get back a clean Hussainsagar,” Mr. Achayra said.

Earlier, the decay and destruction of the water bodies evoked strong reaction from speakers. Lake expert K.L. Vyas said urban water bodies were important in regulating micro climate around cities. Subba Rao, director, Centre for Research Education, called for finding a cost-effective way remedying the water bodies.

Kodarkar, member, ILEC, Japan, said there was no dearth of ideas for protection of lakes but what was lacking was a will to implement them. On the Hussainsagar alone more than 36 persons had done doctoral research.

Indiscriminate use

Jasveen Jairath of SOUL, deplored the indiscriminate use of discretionary powers by bureaucrats.

She pointed out how the MAUD department had sanctioned land use change by issuing 36 GOs between 2003-2007. The GO III was welcome, but in the restricted 10 km radius, close to 40 educational institutions, the Shamshabad Airport and Outer Ring Road had come up. SOUL aimed at rejuvenating lakes and water bodies in Hyderabad urban agglomeration, she said.

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