HYDERABAD: Pointing at the dry land which was once filled with water, Ravinder Reddy, a resident of Kailash Hills colony near Pariki Cheruvu in Gajularamaram says, “When I came here 30 years ago, the water used to come till here.”According to an application filed under the Right To Information (RTI) Act in 2022 accessed by TNIE, the total extent of the lake which was 60.849 acres is now being massively encroached upon.
As per a 2014 report, the area is classified as Full Tank Level (FTL) of the lake. According to the Andhra Pradesh Building Rules of 2012 adopted by Telangana, no building or development activity is allowed in the FTL of any lake or pond. Unless and otherwise stated, the area and FTL of a lake “shall be reckoned as measured and as certified” by the Irrigation Department and Revenue Department, the law states.
In the 2022 RTI application, the Irrigation and Command Area Development (CAD) department states that no changes have been made to the 2014 report. However, the department has issued No Objection Certificates (NOCs) to construction projects in the FTL, Reddy says.
A 14-floor apartment is coming up beside Rahul’s (name changed) house. The building permit order sanctioned for the construction by the Greater Hyderabad Municipal Corporation (GHMC) mandates a minimum setback of 10 metres on all sides. Violation of this mandate and seepage of water from the lake is leading to landsliding, locals allege. “What if the land slips from under us one night when we are sleeping?” asks Rahul.
During heavy rains, residential areas near the lake face another issue - snow-like chemical foam. Despite being an annual phenomenon, there is no solution in sight. When contacted, Gajularamaram Corporator, Ravula Sheshagiri, told TNIE that a proposal has been sent to set up a Sewage Treatment Plant (STP) at Pariki Cheruvu. The issue has to be addressed by the Irrigation Department and not the GHMC, he added.
Citing official apathy, Reddy and several others have approached the High Court.