Lakes of the city: Durgam Cheruvu

Lakes of the city: Durgam Cheruvu

Lakes of the city: Durgam Cheruvu. Durgam Cheruvu in Madhapur is one of the famous lakes in the city. Tourists have the opportunity to take a boat ride at the lake and also hang out at \'Something Fishy’, a bar and restaurant.

Durgam Cheruvu in Madhapur is one of the famous lakes in the city. Tourists have the opportunity to take a boat ride at the lake and also hang out at 'Something Fishy’, a bar and restaurant. The lake is surrounded by hillocks, which forms the typical landscape around Hyderabad. Durgam Cheruvu is also called the Secret Lake because it is hidden between the localities of Jubilee Hills and Madhapur. The lake is spread over 83 acres with a maximum depth of 28 feet. It is managed by Hyderabad Metropolitan Development Authority and is covered under the project of the Lake Protection Committee.

Historically, Durgam Cheruvu was a manmade lake during the rule of the Qutb Shahi dynasty (1518–1687). This was a fresh water reservoir which served as the drinking water source for the residents of Golconda Fort.
In 2001, AP Tourism initiated steps to promote the lake as a tourist destination. As part of this, five boats were deployed at the lake. In 2002, the lake became a destination for people who took fishing as a pastime. A few citizens used to travel to this lake on weekends to relax and enjoy fishing. To capitalise on this, the tourism department turned the lake into a fishing zone. The area surrounding the lake was illuminated. Artificial waterfalls, a rock garden and a floating fountain were also added. In addition to this, proper seating arrangements, a 2 km walkway and restaurants were established. Adventure activities like rock climbing, trekking and rappelling were introduced and an art gallery and a sculptor park for artistes were added. An amphitheatre, with a capacity to hold 1,500 people at a time, was added for public access.
Lack of proper sewer network resulted in untreated waste water being discharged into the lake. In 2005, it was estimated that the sewage inflow already accounted for two million litres per day (MLD) and increased to four to five MLD in 2009 and touched over eight MLD in 2013 causing heavy pollution leading to the disappearance of aquatic life.
The lake, which according to the plans of the AP Tourism, was supposed to be conserved and turned into a famous picnic spot including walkways and a snack bar, is now turned into a stinking sewage dump. The labourers, who live in the slums close to the construction sites around the Durgam Cheruvu, have no other choice but to defecate in the open space close to the lakeside. A Sewage Treatment Plant (STP) which was set up next to the lake in 2006 is non-functional and sewage continues to flow into the lake. The lake is now layered with a viscous sheet of hyacinth that is attributed to the rise in pollutant levels resulting in mosquito menace in the Cyberabad city. It’s literally a battle against life and death for the nearby community, including the IT hubs and to the multinational companies. Huge apartment buildings and residential colonies for the middle class have been constructed close to the waterfront although officially no constructions are to be erected within the lake’s full tank level plus a buffer zone of 30 m.
The AP Lokayukta had issued orders in January this year and directed the HMDA to inspect Durgam Cheruvu and take videos and pictures of the illegal constructions and take all steps to stop constructions and fix the violators. In the report that was submitted, there is clarity regarding the number of illegal constructions which have been stopped. But the number of residents to be evacuated and the number of encroachments remain sub-judice.
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