Hussainsagar: a saga of shrinkage, exploitation, destruction

Rubble from road works on Necklace Road dumped recklessly on Hussainsagar banks.   | Photo Credit: RAMAKRISHNA G

Unbearable stench emanating from the slimy and polluted water, and a crane sifting the suit-like grime from the lake and depositing it on the verdancy of an island greet any visitor to the Hussainsagar near its Ganesh immersion pond, when he or she stands on the tonnes of rubble heaped on the lake’s banks.

A little further away, ugly iron pipes firmly installed in concrete foundations run the length and breadth of the ‘eco-conservation zone’ developed years ago by the lake, apparently for some walk-way in and out of the lake. The lake from Qutubshahi era speaks its sad tale of shrinkage, exploitation and destruction more eloquently now, notwithstanding tall claims by HMDA authorities about its “development and beautification”.

While the urban development authority boasts of newly-laid CC road and footpaths, large mounds of debris from demolition of the previous road and footpath lay heaped right by the lake close to the Ganesh immersion pond, encroaching into the water body’s full tank level. More than three months after re-laying the road, the debris is still to be removed.

The ‘eco-conservation zone’ was demarcated in about five to seven acres on the lake’s banks close to the Jalavihar park, much before the Telangana State was formed.

According to officials who were responsible for creating the zone then, the idea was to earmark an inviolate area for biodiversity to flourish, in order to mediate the lake’s cleansing process through natural course. The area where it was created had been cleared from private hands through legal means, and there were attempts to encroach the land later too, thwarting which was one more aim behind establishment of the eco-conservation zone..

The area was planted with trees and grasses, which would absorb nitrates and sulphates, to make the soil relatively pollutant-free.

A study paper published by the World Wide Fund for Nature (then World Wildlife Fund) identified a total 115 species of flora, 48 species of butterflies, and five species of dragonflies, 67 species of birds, and several kinds of plankton, amphibians, reptiles, and mammals from the lake and surrounding areas. In fact, the paper noted that a rare species named Euphorbia sebastinei survived in the eco-conservation zone. The whole area is now devoid of grass. Several trees were uprooted for laying of foundation for the purported iron walk way, as apparent from remnants of roots. Several others will eventually die, as more foundation pits were dug cutting into their root area. A few freshly cut trees can be seen lying around.

When sought his version, Principal Secretary, Municipal Administration & Urban Development and acting HMDA Commissioner Arvind Kumar, said a “cultural-entertainment project” is underway at the location. The project was permitted with the condition that no permanent construction will be allowed, he informed, and said a team of engineers will assess the situation now.

Of the debris, he said he had instructed officials concerned to ensure its removal within the coming 15 days.

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Printable version | Mar 6, 2021 2:23:25 AM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/cities/Hyderabad/hussainsagar-a-saga-of-shrinkage-exploitation-destruction/article33669622.ece

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