The dredging of the Hussainsagar lake has been in progress for almost six months without there being any headway on the location of a dump yard for the dredged sediment finalising the site to dump the dredged sediment so far.
Aimed at cleaning the highly polluted lake, the initiative has resulted in the accumulation of more than 50,000 cubic metres of dredged material at a temporary site close to the shoreline.
This is approximately half the total storage capacity at the site, which is located near Sanjeevaiah Park. The Hyderabad Metropolitan Development Authority (HMDA) still has no clue on where to dump the material even as more continues to pile up.
The project, which began in December 2012, proposed to shift the scooped sediment to the Jawaharnagar dump yard. However, after residents from nearby localities and local politicians raised objections on the dumping of sediment from a polluted water body, the district administration asked the HMDA to find an alternative. Existing quarry pits at the University of Hyderabad (UoH) campus at Gachibowli came up for consideration but after a few rounds of deliberation, the university too refused.
Given the pollution levels of the Hussainsagar lake, the HMDA has been unable to convince potential stakeholders on the non-hazardous nature of the dredged material. It had another shocker coming its way when the AP Pollution Control Board (APPCB) refused permission to use abandoned quarry pits at Gajularamaram on the city outskirts.
“This site has stone quarry pits which were abandoned many years back. It was inspected by a team of officials from PCB, HMDA and the district administration and found suitable,” said an official. The HMDA had hoped was hoping to get the site cleared in the next few days and handed over to it soon.
“Now, suddenly the PCB has rejected it, saying it is located close to residential areas, and we do not know what to do,” he said.
Halt to work?
Meanwhile, officials say the facility at Sanjeevaiah Park is only meant to store the dredged material for few days: to allow it dry. It is to be then shifted to a permanent dump yard. Since no such transfer has been taking place, the site may soon be filled and the HMDA would then have no option but to halt dredging work.
To compound the HMDA’s woes, the monsoon is just round the corner. Fears are being raised of the rains affect the dredged material at the temporary site and worries are raised on possibilities of a downpour washing the material back to the lake or resulting in percolation. “The possibilities are less but steps such as laying protective covers are being taken up,” added the official.
PCB justifies decision to reject site
The Gajularamaram quarry pits were not cleared for dumping of dredged sediment from the Hussainsagar lake as the site is located close to residential areas, according to Andhra Pradesh Pollution Control Board (APPCB) Member Secretary Sanjay Kumar.
“It is not good to dump the sediment so close to residential areas, and that is the reason why we did not clear it,” he said. Earlier, some other sites were suggested by the Hyderabad Metropolitan Development Authority (HMDA), but they were not used.
Mr. Kumar said that one of the sites proposed was located close to water bodies and hence were rejected, and that another was on the University of Hyderabad campus at Gachibowli.
“The university site was fine with us, but the authorities there apparently did not accept it,” he added. The Jawaharnagar dump yard is described as the best suited space for depositing the dredged sediment from Hussainsagar. “We still feel that it is the best site,” maintained Mr. Kumar. There were some local issues, and it is for the HMDA to resolve them.
Can the PCB suggest alternatives?
“It does not fall in my mandate. The HMDA has to identify a site, and we can check whether it is feasible or not,” he added.