The charm is lost, the allure is gone. The foetid swamp that once was the pride of the City, the Hussain Sagar, lies choked by its own contents. Can it be saved?
Hussain Sagar, with its historical and cultural importance has been the epicentre of many environmental campaigns, though only a few of them have skimmed upon the surface of the problems lying within it. Various governments have in the past and the present, initiated umpteen projects to give a facelift to the lake but none of them have actually been effective.
The Hussain Sagar Catchment Improvement Project involved NGO’s and environmental activists on the social development of the 22 housing colonies surrounding the lake. Major Shiva Kiran, a member of the NGO Sukuki Exnora said, “The three main areas of social development we worked on were solid waste management, setting up community toilets and spreading social awareness about the importance of the lake.”
“The lake has been at the receiving end for the last five decades. Pharmaceutical sewage is being dumped into the lake from the Kukatpally nalah. And the mismatched co-ordination between the APPCB and the HMDA has further worsened the situation,” he said.
Lalita Haribabu, an environmental activist who has been studying the progress of the lake development for the past five years said, “Despite the tall claims made by the corporations and the pollution control board about achieving deadlines, they are yet to reach a basic co-ordination on the project. While the HMDA clears up the sewage nalahs in the lake, the APPCB lets them drain into the lake. And come Ganesh Chaturthi, all the efforts go for a toss.”
Situated on the banks of the lake, that is synonymous with Hyderabad, are multi-speciality hospitals, food and beverage restaurants, hotels that thrive on the USP of being located on the water front. However, the gray area of this situation is that not many of them possess their own sewage treatment plants. Nor do they comply with the health standards, when situated on the banks of a lake that is now a depot for toxic effluents.
Major Shiva Kiran says, “More than government funds and research, the general apathy, that we, as citizens of Hyderabad display is shocking. The attitude of people towards issues like these is that we always prefer to term it as somebody else’s responsibility.”The huge undertakings concerning this issue have failed to deliver what was promised. It is evident that the transparency of finances concerning the Lake Beautification Project or the Buddha Purnima Project which were so far allocated more than Rs.300 crore, are unattended. Despite the claims of the State government that the lake water will be clean and fit for consumption by 2016, the Hussain Sagar is far from rescue.
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