ANDHRA PRADESH

City no match for the surging water

Many families evacuated; situation in Hussainsagar being monitored

Dennis Marcus Mathew

HYDERABAD: All the glitz and charm of Hyderabad was washed away in a single day to reveal the city's ugly underbelly as rain clouds finally cast aside their reluctance and opened up for the whole of Saturday.

For almost the entire day, many parts of the city were under sheets of water.

From Banjara Hills to Marredpally, from Saifabad to Chaderghat and Charminar via Bagh Lingampally and Malkajgiri, no road was spared as the rain gods admonished the city's inadequate drainage system.

The lashing started as early as 2 a.m. on Saturday and continued late into the night, with a few brief intervals, none more than 10 minutes.

Families displaced

Frail huts came tumbling down as surging muddy waters swept away their foundations to displace hundreds of families. The most affected, till 7 p.m., was the Nara Chandrababu Naidu Nagar slum near Lalapet, where over 500 families had to be evacuated to schools and community halls.

The Banda Cheruvu in Malkajgiri overflowed, inundating four of its surrounding colonies. Fifteen families were evacuated from here.

In Bagh Lingampally, 42 families from the Bhagat Singh Nagar slum had to be evacuated after four thatched roof huts here collapsed. No casualties were reported. The slum-dwellers were temporarily lodged in a nearby Housing Board shopping complex. Relief camps were set up in Shaikpet and Malkajgiri as well.

Other areas affected by waterlogging included Asifnagar, Himayatnagar, Khairatabad, Golconda and Bandlaguda.

In several other areas like Tilaknagar, Nallakunta, Ashoknagar, Barkatpura and Marredpally, sheets of water submerged lanes and the open manholes on them, posing severe danger to commuters.

Forty houses across the city were damaged, according to officials. The winds accompanying the showers brought down trees in a few areas. A huge tree that was uprooted in the Dwarakapuri Colony, Punjagutta pulled down electric lines along with it, cutting off power supply in the area for over an hour.

In Tilaknagar, residents placed bicycles and tree branches in the middle of the inundated road to warn vehicles about open manholes. Dwellers of Moosanagar slum in Chaderghat too were a tense lot as the water level in the Hussainsagar surplus nala flowing adjacent to their slum kept swelling even as men, women, children and cattle huddled together in their tenements.

The district administration has cautioned people living on the tank bed of Hussainsagar, mainly those on the Musheerabad, Amberpet and Himayatnagar sides. Officials informed that people in these areas were being shifted since there was the danger of the lake overflowing its full tank level (FTL) of 530.4 metres by early Sunday morning.

The Superintendent Engineer (Irrigation), Y. Chalapathi Rao told

The Hindu that the water level in Hussainsagar as of now was not alarming. Though it was difficult to calculate the amount of water flowing out, it could be between 6,000 cusecs and 10,000 cusecs, he said, adding that the situation was being monitored closely.

The Government meanwhile has set up control rooms in the Secretariat, Police Control Room and at the District Collectorate. Official teams from the Revenue Department, Municipal Corporation of Hyderabad and the city police are making rounds in the city and monitoring the situation.

Control room set up

Special correspondent writes:

The Ranga Reddy district authorities have set up a round-the-clock control room to attend to all rain-related problems in the district and any eventuality in the wake of the heavy rain, according to the district Collector, L. Premchandra Reddy. People can call up the control room (040-23244407) for help.

The Mines and Geology Minister, P. Sabita Indra Reddy, who reviewed the arrangements made for flood relief in the district here on Saturday, wanted the setting up of similar control rooms at the mandal level too. She wanted constant monitoring of the rising water levels in lakes and tanks of the district, particularly those in the surrounding municipalities.

Metro Board plea

The managing director of the Hyderabad Metro Water Supply and Sewerage Board, K.S. Jawahar Reddy, on Saturday appealed to people not to open up the manholes to clear rainwater in their neighbourhood, as it would only lead to large scale sewage choking.

At a high level meeting of HMWSSB officials, he said 25 mobile teams each headed by an official of managerial cadre were formed to attend to cases of sewage overflow round-the-clock. A round-the-clock call centre - 1916 - was also set up at the HWMSSB head office to attend complaints of sewage overflow.

The Board also decided to increase the quantum of chlorination in the drinking water to check the spread of communicable diseases. Similarly, chlorine tablets would also be distributed all over the city to ensure safe drinking water.

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