HYDERABAD: A graveyard in Lalitha Bagh ward in Old City, which has turned into a dumpyard over the years, has become a curse for the area residents as it serves as a breeding ground for diseases like malaria and chikungunya. The graveyard Lalitha Bagh Samshana Vatika, presently spread across four acres of government-owned land, stinks and poses major environmental hazards as the kaati kapari (undertaker) burns tons of solid waste there everyday. However, about eight acres out of 12 acres of the graveyard land, has been encroached by the locals.
People from the SC/ST community constitute a majority of the population of Lalitha bagh.
The founder president of organisation named Telangana All SC, ST Eaikya Vedika, who stays in Lalitha Bagh told Express, “On everyday basis, people from firms and factories from across Old City come to the graveyard with trucks or lorries loaded with waste. Seeing the graves of our loved ones covered with filth is disturbing. Lalamma, the elderly undertaker here now makes a reasonable sum by extracting money from people for allowing them to dump waste at the graveyard than she would have ever made by helping with burying or burning bodies.”
Meanwhile, this reporter saw a lorry loaded with sacks of garbage entering the graveyard. When 60-year-old Lalamma, who has now built her house on the graveyard land was asked about it, she refuted the allegations.
However, the lorry driver said she charges `100 each time he dumps garbage at the graveyard. Heaps of garbage have even blocked the way connecting Lalitha bagh to Edi Bazaar.
When Express contacted GHMC Corporator, Lalitha Bagh, for his response, he said, “I have been wanting to check the dumping of garbage at the graveyard in the area and have complained to Zonal Commissioner (South Zone), GHMC, in this regard too. However, I have not received much support from him to solve the issue so far.”
Moreover, the residents of Bhaiyalal Nagar located next to the slums complained of the garbage dumped at the graveyard, overflowing till their houses during rains.
Devidas, a slumdweller, said that because of piles of filth accumulating at the graveyard, there have been too many mosquitoes in the area.
The slumdwellers also complained that there is no waterline in Bhaiyalal Nagar. Bunga Laxmibai, a resident said, “We all have dug up a borewell in our house to tackle the severe water crisis we face here. But since the drainage line in the area is also very small, filth always overflows from the drains and gets mixed into the groundwater. This is why we are compelled to buy drinking water, we get the water can for `30 each.”
The drainage line in the area has not been extended or repaired by the civic officials even once in the last 20 years.