Hopes pinned on opening of lake’s sluice gate

B. Panduraju, a fisherman who resides on the banks of Fox Sagar Lake, showing a fishing net that he managed to salvage before leaving his inundated house.   | Photo Credit: K. Shiva Shanker

It has been a week since torrential rains on October 13 inundated several localities in and around Hyderabad, including hundreds of homes in Uma Maheshwar Colony, Kompally. The colony runs alongside Fox Sagar Lake.

On Tuesday, scores of people came to see the efforts of experts to open sluice gate of the lake to send excess water into nalas. The efforts have been on for the past three days. Among those waiting a few metres from the work site were residents of the colony who are holding on to hope of the gate opening at the earliest so that the flood water recedes, allowing them to return to their homes.

“It was at 11 p.m. last Tuesday that water level rose rapidly in a span of half hour and inundated our homes. We collected whatever we could and ran to safer places,” recalled V. Rameshwari, who waited for more than four hours hoping for the gate to open.

Earlier flood

She and others from the locality alleged that water had flooded their colony six years ago, although not a major one, but no corrective measures were taken then. As she started walking back, more people were headed towards the site where the team of experts was working.

On the path leading to the sluice gate, a row of 14 shanties built on the banks of the lake are submerged. The smell of fish still emanates from thermocol boxes lying alongside the path. Around 14 families who rely on fishing started living in those shanties three years ago.

One among them, B. Panduraju, said that when the water level started to rise last Tuesday night, they shifted some belongings out of their home. “But we had to leave when the water reached chest level. Our fishing nets worth ₹5-6 lakh were swept away into the lake. Now, we have to start from scratch, but we don’t know how will we do it,” Mr Panduraju said.

Satya, an elderly woman who also lives there, said they did not eat for two days after water submerged their homes. She hopes for some compensation to get back to their routine.

Pouring her heart out, Ms Rameshwari, who along with her husband and two children shifted to their relative’s home in Quthbullapur, said, “Will the wooden furniture and most other things be usable after they have remained in water for seven days? We have lost all hopes. We had built our home with all our savings; we cannot build it again. We only wish that the walls of our building are intact. People say the house is on land which encroaching the lake. If government officials had not given us the permission, we would not have built it there.”

After the inundation, they managed to find a safe roof only because her relative D. Sharadha shifted from the colony to another locality after the minor flooding six years ago.

Quthbullapur MLA K.P. Vivekananda flagged the rumours of a breach being made to the lake as false. Experts from Nagarjuna Sagar dam and Srisailam dam were on the job of opening the sluice gate. He, along with Cyberabad Police Commissioner V.C. Sajjanar inspected the works at the gate on Tuesday, and said that water from the sluice gate will be sent into nalas and that it won’t pose a problem to low-lying areas.

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Printable version | Nov 28, 2020 12:39:01 PM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/cities/Hyderabad/hopes-pinned-on-opening-of-lakes-sluice-gate/article32904018.ece

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