Three ‘Water Warriors', activists engaged in protracted battles to save the water bodies in and around the city were felicitated by the ‘Save Our Urban Lakes' (SOUL) as part of its annual day celebrations on Sunday.
The trio are: K.L. Vyas, retired faculty member of Osmania University who was associated with several agitations for protection of water bodies and known for his efforts to protect the Saroornagar lake, S. Bhaskar Reddy, actively involved in Serilingampally area, and Balaswamy who worked towards saving the Yellamakunta lake in Kukatpally.
Dr. Vyas in fact is game for more action. He announced his decision to launch a hunger strike seeking measures to protect Ramanthapur Cheruvu from June 18.
“My best efforts for this water body have been rendered futile and to highlight the inaction of the official machinery, I am planning to sit on a hunger strike,” he declared.
Earlier, K.S. Rajen of the Lab for Spatial Informatics, International Institute of Information Technology (IIIT) in a presentation outlined the way the city had over the decades lost its precious water bodies.
“Almost 4,000 hectare area of water bodies in and around the city has been lost and that convert to at least 30 to 35 Tank Bunds,” he remarked.
Major changes have occurred with both big and small water bodies with some having shrunk while few others disappeared.
“Shamirpet lake in the 1980s was a major picnic spot but not any more. Look what is left there,” he said.
Several participants highlighted the apathy of administration and different wings of the government in ensuring protection of water bodies. Officials sitting in the air-conditioned rooms were not aware of the existing conditions on ground at different lakes, they claimed.
C.S. Rama Lakshmi, Director General, Andhra Pradesh Forest Academy and Centre for Forest and Natural Resources Management and SOUL convenerAsveen Jairath also participated in the function.
Volunteers of ‘Koshish' group presented a skit that was woven around importance of saving water and situations resulting from its neglect.