HYDERABAD: The recent floods in the city were attributed to the rampant encroachments around the Musi River. Though nearly 6,350 encroachments within the river boundary and buffer zone (50 metres from the river) were identified by the Musi Riverfront Development Corporation Ltd (MRDCL) authorities three years ago, no action was taken.
Surprisingly, even after the recent floods, they maintain that they cannot take immediate action. MRDCL chairman Devireddy Sudheer Reddy said that they will take a policy level decision against the encroachments post the GHMC elections after analysing the fresh data collected.
However, the chairman has agreed that the recent floods were the cause of encroachments of lakes and drains. He said, “For instance, the Lenin Nagar Lake was completely encroached upon. If this tank was alive, it would have stored nearly 1 TMC water, preventing overflow in Jillelaguda and Saroornagar lakes.”
Attributing the delay in Musi rejuvenation work to the lockdown, Sudheer Reddy said, “We started work for the identification of the river boundary and buffer zone in March, but was stopped for a brief period due to the lockdown until it was resumed by the end of July. As we were finishing the work of enumerating how many illegal structures were there, the rains began.”
“A strong political decision is needed to address the issue. But, before taking any decision, we need to have a total count of the number of encroachments. We are doing that exercise now. Every structure within the buffer zone should be removed. We will focus on a permanent solution after the crisis. A master plan to handle the situation even in the case of 45 cm rainfall should be formulated,” he said. He also estimated that around `3,000 crore was required to carry out Musi rejuvenation works.
While the MRDCL chairman claims that the Musi will be restored to its previous glory by 2024, in reality it looks like a distant dream in light of the staff crunch. The MRDCL has a bare minimum of around 30 staffers, which is just 10 per cent of the required staff.