Drastic step

Andhra government mulls draconian laws on rainwater harvesting

Published: Wednesday 31 July 2002

the failure to construct rainwater harvesting structures in individual dwellings and large establishments in the twin cities of Hyderabad and Secunderabad in Andhra Pradesh could lead to seizure of land by the government. This recent announcement was made by Andhra Pradesh chief minister (cm) N Chandrababu Naidu.

The government is planning to formulate an independent society under the newly formed Andhra Pradesh Water, Land and Tree Act, 2002. This society will be entrusted with the task of collecting funds for rainwater harvesting structures. But non-governmental organisations (ngos) and activists state that the new move is just a ploy to get people to shell out money. J Rama Rao, member of Hyderabad Greens, a forum of environmental ngos says, "The approach of the government is not public-friendly. Though the act has far-reaching effects, improper implementation can lead to vested interests misusing it."

The Hyderabad Water Supply and Sewerage Board (hwssb) plans to install the structures if construction at the various sites is not carried out within the stipulated time. Surya Rao of the rainwater harvesting cell, hwssb, states: "The dues will be recovered by imposing a fine along with the property tax."

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