Old Alwal Lake

Old Alwal Lake
Highlights

Old Alwal Lake is an artificial lake located about 8 kilometers from Secunderabad. The lake was originally spread over 20 acres during the Nizam era, but has now reduced to less than 9 acres, due to illegal encroachments and construction of buildings over the last few decades.

Old Alwal Lake is an artificial lake located about 8 kilometers from Secunderabad. The lake was originally spread over 20 acres during the Nizam era, but has now reduced to less than 9 acres, due to illegal encroachments and construction of buildings over the last few decades.

 A view of the lake

There are many issues associated with the lake, resulting in a tensed situation for the people of Alwal and Alwal Municipality officials for the past few years.

The lake is in the heart of Alwal, near the Secunderabad-Mumbai Railway track, and has a very scenic view from the railway track and also from the Alwal Railway Station.

History

Old Alwal Lake derived its name from the village Alwal, as it meanders through the Alwal region, a part of the Cantonment. The lake got its name after alvars, who were Tamil poets, the proponents of bhakti and devotees of Lord Venkateshwara, which is home to a historic Venkateshwara Temple. The temple is 227 years old and located near the Greater Hyderabad Municipal Corporation’s (GHMC) circle office.

This lake is man-made and is home to several species of flora and fauna. Various migratory birds and animals have made these lakes their home. This lake is a good place for rearing fish. It is being used for immersing Ganesh idols and Bathukammas.

Problems

The Old Alwal Lake, near Vasavi Enclave, was a rich groundwater source. It is now shrinking as truckloads of construction debris are being dumped illegally into the water body by landsharks. Now the problem has compounded and the lake is reducing in size year by year due to the ignorance of the previous governments and other concerned agencies such as the GHMC, the Hyderabad Metropolitan Development Authority (HMDA), etc.

Residents accuse the GHMC of being a mute spectator. “Such large volumes of debris cannot be dumped without the connivance of municipal authorities,” says Ashwin Nallari of United Federation of Resident Welfare Association.

The MRO had claimed a case was booked against a former TDP counsellor for his role in dumping debris in another lake (China Rayadu Cheruvu) nearby and assured that strict action would be taken against those doing it.

Adding a new angle to the problem, Madal Revenue Inspector says the issue was compounded with the fact that land around the lake was regularised by the government. “They are ‘patta lands’, as owners are getting debris dumped to start construction,”

Depleting groundwater levels are another concern for people in the area. GV Rao of Greater Alwal Allied Service Association (GAASA) said, “There was an immediate need to mark and maintain the Full Tank Level (FTL) and buffer zone of the lake. We want officials to close water outlets to stop the sewerage inflow. And, the so-called ‘bund construction’ that is being taken up currently, is nothing but clear encroachment.”

“Untreated effluents being let into it are slowly killing the lake. Effluents of over 25 surrounding colonies flow into the lake,” pointed out Mr. Rao. “When we asked about this, officials said, ‘Which lake doesn’t have this problem?’ It was said that a proposal for an integrated drainage system under the Jawaharlal Nehru National Urban Renewal Mission (JnNURM) would be readied in due course.”

However till date, the drainage issue has not been dealt with. The wire mesh which was put around the lake was damaged by miscreants and the entire lake needs to be enmeshed again to prevent further encroachment.

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