SANGAREDDY: The Gaddapotharam Gram Panchayat (GP), a collection of four villages in Sangareddy district -- Gaddapotharam, Kistaiahpally, Chetlapotharam and Alinagar -- is a classic case of official and industrial apathy to environmental pollution. The gram panchayat, with a population of over 8,000, hit the headlines recently after it was found that most of its waterbodies were polluted to poisonous levels by effluents released by pharma companies in the area.
The untold story, however, is that the residents are forced to shell out money on an everyday basis to buy freshwater. This despite orders issued by the Supreme Court and Hyderabad High Court to authorities to ensure free drinking water is supplied to 20 villages in the erstwhile Medak district where pharma companies have wrecked havoc. The order also came after the Patancheru-Bollaram industrial cluster was identified as ‘Critically Polluted Area’ by the Central Pollution Control Board.
A basic requisite of environmental remediation, the ‘polluter pays’ principle, has never been implemented. Meaning, pharma companies that polluted the waterbodies in blatant violation of laws have been let to go scot-free without completing remediation efforts. The gut-wrenching smell of a concoction of chemicals released into the air by these industries continues to suffocate Gaddapotharam. Dumping of effluents into the lake by pharma companies over the years has rendered groundwater and lakes completely useless.