Keeping a hawk’s eye on Shukoorsagar dam embankment

Residents of Shaheen Nagar in Hyderabad use a boat to check the flood situation in their colony on Tuesday.   | Photo Credit: PTI

The embankment of Shukoorsagar dam has become a high security no-go zone in the aftermath of flooding in Osman Nagar, Shaheen Nagar, Sufa Colony and other areas. A posse of policemen from Balapur Police Station, mobile surveillance cameras and floodlights have been deployed in the area to restrict access. Only the residents of Venkatapur are being allowed to cross the dam bund to reach their homes.

“Hundreds of houses are under water in the other part of the lake. We are guarding this place for the past one week to prevent anyone from trying to release water from the lake,” said a police official. Before the lake got filled up, the embankment and the Katta Maisamma temple had untrammelled access.

The fear is not unfounded as the residents whose houses are under water have been demanding release of the water or pumping it out. “A government which can bring down a massive building like the secretariat can easily pump out water from this lake,” said Muhammad Ahmed of Sufa Colony who is now staying at a relative’s house in Yakutpura. “They should drain the water. How long can we live on charity of others,” asked his wife as they waited to collect relief material being distributed in the area. According to residents of the area, the water level is still rising due to seepage and release of drain water from other areas into the lake.

Below the dam is the village of Venkatapur and further downstream are Babanagar and many other areas which have already borne the brunt of flash floods. “Water from that dam has never overflowed. The farmers here use it for irrigation by pumping it,” said Satish who lives in the Venkatapur village where the paddy fields are making way for apartments. One of the unfinished apartments has ankle-deep water while the surrounding areas have knee-high water.

Mass Foundation, an NGO working in the area, has applied to the Commissioner of Jalpally to allow usage of pumps to drain the water from the lake. “The main problem of the people here is that they have lost everything. But if the water is drained, at least they will have a roof over their heads,” said Mazher Ahmed of the NGO.

“We have failed at the policy level to bring relief to the people there by not draining the water. Irrigation experts can easily come up with a solution that is pragmatic and would not cause harm to the surrounding areas. We require governmental intervention to solve this problem rather an individual solution,” said Anant Maringanti of Hyderabad Urban Labs.

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Printable version | Nov 30, 2020 5:27:43 PM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/cities/Hyderabad/keeping-a-hawks-eye-on-shukoorsagar-dam-embankment/article32957648.ece

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