HYDERABAD: Think Hyderabad, think Charminar. Think Hyderabadi lakes, think Hussainsagar. And this year, wish Hyderabad’s most famous man-made water body an even longer life as the lake celebrates its 450th year of existence (it was built in 1562 during the rule of Ibrahim Qul Qutub Shah who named it in honour of the late Hazrat Hussain Shah Wali). Continuing as a major relaxation spot among the city’s denizens, both young and old, it is expected to see improved cleanliness and innovative tourism projects this year.
Clean Lake a befitting birthday gift
As far as officials with the Tourism Department and the Buddha Purnima Project (the nodal organisation under HMDA currently engaged in the maintenance of the lake) are concerned, the most befitting gift Hyderabad can give the lake is helping it regain its lost freshness.
“The entire project of lake water rejuvenation by diverting sewerage and building Sewage Treatment Plants (STP) will help clean the water. The work should have been over by early next year, but due to the dredging work, it will be completed by early 2014. What better birthday gift for the lake than to make it clean and pure?”, asked an official with the engineering department at Buddha Purnima.
“In a couple of weeks, 20 MLD capacity of one of the 50 MLD STP plants being set up will be completed, helping upgrade the plant to tertiary level, which will provide water of highest quality by filtration. Once the remaining capacity and the second STP plant become operational, at most by early next year, stench from the waters will reduce and the visual appeal will improve,” he added.
Apart from restoring the lake’s lost glory, plans are also afoot to boost tourism beyond just the boating options currently on offer. “Just like the London Eye (a giant wheel with air-conditioned cabins where people can sit and dine) set up on the banks of the River Thames, private investors have evinced interest in setting up a Hyderabad Eye nearby the Hussainsagar Lake. We have also decided to re-launch the Necklace Week, a week-long festival along the Necklace Road later this year preferably in September during the time of World Tourism week,” explained Chandana Khan, Secretary, Department of Tourism.
She also added that a floating restaurant to be set up on the lake is on the cards, which once operational would be a major attraction for tourists. Current statistics show that despite all the bad press, more than 9,56,500 people opted for rides on cruise boats, mechanised boats or speed boats plying on the lake, which is a 11% increase from the number of water recreation-based tourists to the lake in 2010-11.
With newer features and better quality of water to be soon available, expect the numbers to go up even more, starting this jubilee year.