Are you a nature lover but had to helplessly witness a lake getting encroached? If yes, and if you are willing to help the local authorities avert such a thing from happening again, then here’s your chance.
‘Adopt A Lake’ is a new initiative conceived by the Hyderabad Metropolitan Development Authority (HMDA) to save the lakes with public participation.
“We had a draft memorandum of understanding (MOU), which was approved by the seventh Lake Protection Committee (LPC) whereby we agreed to invite expressions of interest (EOI) from willing stakeholders in this regard to have discussions on the MOU, and finalise it,” said Neerabh Kumar Prasad, HMDA metropolitan commissioner, at a press conference here on Wednesday.
At present 501 lakes have been identified in the erstwhile HUDA area, 176 of which now fall in the Greater Hyderabad limits and the remaining in the metropolitan area. Further, in the entire HMDA area, 2,845 lakes have been identified apart from those in the aforementioned areas.
“This is an opportunity to all the concerned citizens to help us protect the lakes. This is a responsibility. The draft is for three years for now,” said Prasad. However, under this scheme, the maintenance expenditure will have to be borne by the interested person himself or herself. “We will help them mark the lakes up to its full tank level (FTL) boundaries and buffer zones, including its inlets and outlets, by constant vigil.”
Prasad explained that interested persons would have to assist the officials of HMDA, GHMC, irrigation and revenue departments in marking the FTL levels, buffer zones, inlet and outlet levels. But big water bodies like the Hussainsagar, Himayatsagar and Osmansagar are not up for adoption under this scheme.
“We decided to initiate this as several people from resident welfare associations, NGOs and corporate sector have expressed interest in conservation of lakes.”
He warned that the scheme was simply meant for taking care of the lakes and not for their commercial exploitation. “No water should be drawn from the lakes and any construction of any sort is also prohibited. And the adopter cannot restrict access to anyone nor can lease the lake. It is merely a public service,” said the metropolitan commissioner. Only acknowledgment will be in the form of a small board which will be put up, stating that the person or organisation is maintaining it.
“We all know about the current scenario and the problems concerning the lakes. As of now, we are trying to prevent further encroachments and, under the scheme, we will also take up identification of all the encroachments of the lakes,” Prasad ascertained.
Persons interested in adopting lakes can apply online from Thursday on the HMDA website. The last date for sending in applications is May 31. “After the expressions of interest (EOI) are submitted, we will discuss with them the nitty-gritty, including the financial aspects. Once a consensus is reached, we will sign the MOU,” Prasad said, adding that the current statistics of the lakes were on the satellite images, and topography maps provided by the Survey of India.