HYDERABAD: In a novel way of creating one’s own recreational space, residents of Engineer’s Enclave, a colony surrounding the Bachukunta Lake in Chandanagar have teamed up with city-based people’s forum Save Our Urban Lakes (SOUL) and GHMC to clean the lake, landscape its banks and protect it from further encroachment.
“Earlier, the lake was a haven for encroachment and we were legally and technically inept at handling the lake conservation issue. But two months ago, we aligned with SOUL and the corporation. Since then, all colony residents have taken an active interest in the development of the lake,” said Phani, a resident of the colony. One of the main supporters of the initiative, Phani has been actively encouraging residents to involve themselves in the initiative. He said that a lack of emotional bond with the lake had led them to remain mute spectators all along, until now that is. “We were sceptical at first about the initiative. But now looking at the progress being made, we want our lake to be developed fully. We are confident we can do it and are continuing to raise awareness on the same.”
The cleaning process
Interestingly, volunteers of SOUL had started work on the lake early last year on a pilot basis, but due to little residential support were unable to plough forward successfully. “We decided to adopt the four-acre lake and help develop and restore it last year. But it was only in February this year that residents finally approached us with similar interest,” said YPR Krishna, convenor of SOUL.
The project in its first stage sought to manually clear the lake off its large water hyacinth presence. For this, the GHMC’s entomology team was roped in. “The corporation provided the manual labour and expertise on how to manage the hyacinth growth”, explained Krishna.
In the second stage which just got completed a couple of days ago, the GHMC provided mechanised tools and machines to further eat into the hyacinth growth. The depth of the lake was also increased by means of simple dredging and the debris lying at the bottom was cleared off. “Before the monsoons start, we want to finish the third stage which will involve clearing the bund. From June on, we are going to start the landscaping works and set up a park/garden etc around the lake for recreation of the residents”, added Krishna.
Incidentally, a couple of IT companies in the city have come forward to finance the entire landscaping and development project on a 50:50 ratio. Subba Rao, a senior member of SOUL said that if this project turned out to be a success, the group would seek to develop similar models elsewhere too. “We are only spending our time and energy for this lake. It is the technical help being provided by the corporation and the enthusiasm being shared by the residents that will ultimately make this project a success.”