HYDERABAD: The State government's decision to make it mandatory for real estate developers and builders to protect, develop and rejuvenate water bodies and increase green cover has drawn sharp criticism from environmentalists and civil society representatives, who believe that such a move is akin to making the fox guard the chicken.
"The decision is sinister. It is nothing but legally handing the lakes to developers to further encroach the water bodies and develop more ventures," say activists.They say that the government has opened doors for developers to encroach the water bodies and turn them into their private properties and stop people from approaching the lake.
The activists say that the decision also goes against the basic structure of the Constitution. There are about 3,200 lakes in the Metropolitan Region and a majority of them have shrunk dramatically due to ventures and layouts coming up along buffer zone and FTL. Well-known environmentalist Prof, K Purushotham Reddy is intensely critical of the orders issued by the Municipal Administration department a few days ago.
He described the orders as a sinister move of the government to hand over natural resources to corporates and said that it will definitely be a major issue. "We will make it an election issue. How can the government hand over water bodies to corporates?" Prof Reddy said.
His words were echoed by activist and founder of "Save Our Urban Lakes" Lubna Sarwath who said: "Lakes are critical public resources, their safety is the government’s responsibility. As citizens we shall not allow this to happen."