HYDERABAD: There was a time when Durgam Cheruvu used to be associated only with the nauseating stink emanating from it. Recent rejuvenation works, however, have helped break that image to some extent. People living next to the lakefront are upbeat about new facilities that are coming up at this once-neglected lake. However, works are far from complete. While a 2.2 km walking/cycling track was proposed to be built in the first phase of works, only 800 metres is currently ready for use. Parking facilities and other amenities are still being constructed. Until about a year ago, Durgam Cheruvu, a natural lake resembled a massive septic tank with sewerage from Madhapur catchment area flowing into it.
The rejuvenation was proposed as a CSR initiative by real estate developer K Raheja Corp, along with financial support of TSIIC, GHMC, TSTDC and HMWSSB in 2017. The first phase of works, according to officials Express spoke to, included diversion of sewerage pipes to Malkam Cheruvu (unfortunate for residents living there) and removal of hyacinth that had covered the waters. When it opens to public, the lakefront will have benches, cycle stands, children’s play areas, a yoga corner, and toilet facilities. “We have completed 800 metres of the cycle/walking track. The rest can only be completed once the bridge construction is over and trucks can enter the site,” said a site supervisor. “The yoga corner is ready but there are minor works remaining, the cycle stand facility is also ready but the car parking facility is not ready yet,” he added.
Once the work is over, K Raheja Corp will maintain the lakefront for six months and then hand it over to GHMC. The lakefront design includes dedicated areas along the central median of the cycle and walking track to generate revenue through advertising. The revenue will be used for the upkeep of the lakefront. For residents at Doctors Colony, residing barely 50 meters away from the lake a new gate now separates them from accessing their once favourite recreation spot.
“We are happy that they are developing the lakefront, for the past couple of months the stink from the lake has come down drastically,” said Aravind M Pudipelli, a resident of Doctors colony for the past four years.
Their fears are based on past experience where parks such as KBR park, Lumbini and Sanjeeviya started charging an entry fee after receiving a facelift. “This area flooded twice in 2017. I hope this time that doesn’t happen,” said Sajith Karnavar who resides barely 30 metres away from the lakefront.