Lake of misery

Published: Saturday 04 July 2015

Sorrow increase over Saroonaga (Credit: Anju Sharma / cse)On August 28, the district collector of Karnataka's Ranga Reddy district issued an order to release water from the Saroornagar lake in Hyderabad. But the High Court stayed the order which was also opposed by the city's environmental activists.

The public interest litiga- Sorrow tion (PIL)-based stay order was issued on September 27. The PIL also highlighted the case of 170 water bodies, tanks and lakes threatened in the twin cities of Hyderabad and Secunderabad. in late October, the Andhra Pradesh High Court modified this order, directing the municipal authorities to release the lake's water. The decision came after heavy rains had lashed Hyderabad.

"The rains had led to a rise in the water level of Saroornagar lake, and partial floods in houses of the 5ingereni Housing Colony," said K Purushottam Reddy of Citizens Against Pollution. He cited the example of the case of Meeralam tank which two years ago, had flooded 'illegally authorised' colonies. "Constructions and development have caused these lakes to shrink in size, leading to lesser water surface increases over and ground water for a city whose demand for water is increasing rapidly. Every year, the Ranga Reddy district thirsts for water, and such plans only make things worse," said K Prabhakar Reddy, PIL advocate.

G Prabhakar Reddy, president, Saroornagar Fishermen's Association, says, "We feel that there are plans to drain the entire lake, so that people can build houses here. But we will not let this happen, as this would mean an end to our way of life. Also this water caters to the neighbouring colonies of Lai Bahadur Nagar and Dilsukhnagar.

"The average term for district collectors here is nine months. They come here with one purpose in mind: to make money by sanctioning transfer of land use," alleges Purushottam Reddy.

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