Rich and influential spared in demolition drive: SOUL

Lakes in the GHMC region are homes to apartment complexes, hotels, sewage treatment plants, sewage pipelines, badminton courts, electric substations, educational institutions, convention centres, golf clubs, and occasionally government buildings too.

A slide show displayed by the city-based Save Our Urban Lakes (SOUL) here on Friday has listed at least 10 instances of open encroachment into storm water channels and lakes by the rich and influential of the society besides government itself.

Appreciating Chief Minister K.Chandrasekhar Rao’s assertion that encroachments will be pulled down mercilessly, Convenor of SOUL Jasvin Jairath demanded action against the rich and powerful first rather than the poor people who were pushed to existence along the nalas.

Poor families should be relocated rather than evicted, she said, alleging that the officials were misleading the government by laying greater stress on demolition of structures on the nalas, leaving the lake encroachers untouched.

Listing the encroachments into Durgam Cheruvu, Kapra Lake, Bum Ruknudowla tank, on the nala leading to Patel Cheruvu, Mir Alam Tank, Shah Hatem Talab, Ramamma Kunta and Kamuni Cheruvu, the organisation has demanded immediate demolition of all these structures. Thakur Rajkumar Singh, another activist who filed many public interest petitions over lake encroachments, called the Telangana government’s demolition drive as “surgical strikes on selective targets”. Close to 12,500 illegal structures have come up in violation of GO 111 which protects the catchment area of Osman Sagar and Himayat Sagar reservoirs, with impunity, he said.

Kasireddy Bhaskar Reddy from the NGO ‘Janam Kosam’ said political leaders are in cahoots with the encroachers, which lets the latter scot free. Leaders of the ruling party were invited and attended the inauguration of a theatre constructed in the Patel Cheruvu nala, he alleged, and added that officials turn a blind eye to encroachments by the influential. He sought the Chief Minister to issue orders to officials not to spare anybody.

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