Expansion of road `affecting' the reservoir opposed
Displacement of farmers and others fearedNo response from Chief Minister to a complaint: forum
VISAKHAPATNAM: The Mudasarlova reservoir, one of the drinking water sources of the city, will become a cesspool due to the expansion of the road abutting it into 200 feet, construction of housing colonies and projects along the road, according to the Forum for Better Visakha.
These works being taken up by the Greater Visakhapatnam Municipal Corporation (GVMC) will result in drying up of inflows into the reservoir from its catchment area on one hand and inundate the adjacent area on the other, as the outflow will be arrested.
"Along with the environment angle, another great harm is in the shape of displacement of poor, girijan and dalit farmers cultivating patta lands. These farmers in spite of securing court orders are being forced to vacate the land and even police are deployed in good strength which is not necessary since the issue is pending in the court," said coordinator of Forum for Better Visakha and a retired senior IAS officer E.A.S. Sarma at a press conference here on Saturday.
Development done through the Vana Samrakshana Samitis and the many natural resources around Mudasarlova, the nature park, sanctuary, Kambalakonda eco-tourism park and other resources and facilities would be seriously affected.
"The GVMC is taking up the works in violation of the VUDA Master Plan and did not care to heed to the orders issued by the High Court regarding the farmers. Construction work should not be encouraged in the Mudasarlova catchment area. GVMC did not obtain permission from the Ministry of Environment as per the rule since the project cost has crossed Rs. 50 crores. We will appeal to the Supreme Court empowerment committee and are ready to move the High Court against these works. There is a strong need to protest against these works as they will harm environment and the livelihood of farmers", Dr. Sarma said.
Lack of response from the Chief Minister to a complaint lodged with him and the observations made by courts on protecting natural water sources prompted FBV to think of moving the court. The plans to take over the lands from farmers here was similar to the outer ring road project in Hyderabad, where a small compensation was paid and the land was sold for a very heavy price, he said.