Whenever the city experiences heavy rain the first thoughts are about the Hussainsagar lake and drains, upstream and downstream. Fears of a breach weigh heavily in the minds of people with an over imaginative TV news channel adding to the drama during each monsoon. `Breaking News' of a news channel was `Hussainsagar flood gates have been opened' or `water let out from Hussainsagar following heavy inflows'. It left MCH mandarins rolling on the floor with laughter because the lake has no gates and only open vents near Hotel Viceroy. Once the full tank level is reached excess water flows through these vents towards the Hussainsagar surplus nala passing through Ashoknagar, Himayatnagar, etc. In fact, there is a plan to construct gates to regulate the discharge better now. Anyway why blame the media when the Collector himself demanded an explanation from one of his officials for lifting gates without his permission when he watched the `news breaking'!

The Secunderabad Cantonment's official machinery does not seem to have anyone favouring them, even the police. On Monday, as counting after Sunday's election began, the police found it tough handling the huge crowds that waited outside the counting centre at PG College. To worsen the situation, the counting dragged on, taking over two hours for each ward in spite of a low number of votes. The fact that there were no electronic voting machines and that it was the stamped ballot papers added to the delay. A cop was heard muttering. "They could have arranged for more counting staff if they had written a letter to the Government. . I have heard so many complaints about the Cantonment officials, but never thought the situation was this bad." Once on the coals is okay, but all the time?

The district administration finds itself in a piquant situation over the immersion of Ganesh idols. The Ganesh Utsav Samithi is intent on immersing the idols in Hussainsagar even when the High Court wants the Government to take steps to check pollution of the lake.

Samithi leaders suggested to the Government that bund or a pond should be constructed in the lake as an alternate place for immersion, but officials say it's not feasible at this juncture. Moreover, the chemicals will definitely mix with water of the lake even after a bund or pond is constructed, they feel. With the immersion date drawing closer, the officials are yet to finalise the place for the 11-day Ganesh festival.

M. Srinivas