Having put the conservation of lakes and water bodies that have shrunk badly in and around the city in the last couple of decades on the priority list, the Hyderabad Metropolitan Development Authority (HMDA) has decided to enrol the support of neighbourhood committees in the endeavour.

A special drive that started on the occasion of Earth Day on April 22 will continue till the World Environment Day in the first week of June and the Lake Protection Committee that has been formed by the government has decided to focus on 21 lakes and water bodies during the period.

Taken up as requiring ‘immediate intervention' and on top priority, the initiative is to handle the matter in a three-pronged fashion with the identified water bodies getting attention as required locally.

The priority for three lakes, Osmansagar, Himayatsagar and Hussainsagar, has been put on development of green belt around them while 10 lakes including Durgam Cheruvu, Banda Cheruvu at Malkajgiri, Thammadi Kunta at Madhapur, Amber and Hasmathpet Cheruvu in Kukatpally, Yellamma, Bhagarathi and Maisamma Cheruvu in Serilingampally apart from Pedda Cheruvu at Ramanthapur and Kapra Cheruvu will be taken up for demarcation of boundaries and removal of encroachments.

Apart from encroachments, a major aspect that has affected lakes in the city, which once was known for its water bodies, has been the inflows of sewerage, apathy on part of the administration and lack of timely remedial measures.

The priority declared by the committee happens to be the need for diversion of excess sewerage inflow and construction of STPs.

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