Lakes of the city: Bandala Cheruvu

Lakes of the city: Bandala Cheruvu

Bandala Cheruvu is located in Malkajgiri Circle. It is listed with the Hyderabad Metropolitan Development and Authority’s (HMDA) Lake Protection Committee.

Bandala Cheruvu is located in Malkajgiri Circle. It is listed with the Hyderabad Metropolitan Development and Authority’s (HMDA) Lake Protection Committee. The lake was surveyed by the Greater Hyderabad Municipal Corporation (GHMC) in 2014. According to that report, the water spread area is about 35 acres. The Full Tank Level (FTL) area is 92 acres and bund length is 604 metres. The lake was once used to provide water for agriculture and allied activities and was a main source for drinking water needs of the villagers. Earlier, the lake used to attract migratory birds in winter.

According to locals, the lake name was derived from ‘banda’ (granite rock and hills), as rain water used to stagnate in between the rocky area. Since the lake was formed in between the rocky area, it became popular known as Bandala Cheruvu. It is said that it was a big lake that was in existence since the Nizam era. Water from high altitude areas in the rainy seasons flowed in to the lake and was used for cultivation and drinking needs of the local and surrounding villages. Fishermen flourished due to favourable conditions for growth of different kind fish in those days.

Dr Lubna Sarwath, co-convener and a member of Save Our Urban Lakes (SOUL), said, “Though a survey was done by the GHMC in 2014, no fencing was done to prevent the encroachments in the FTL and buffer zone. In 2010, some miscreants tried to blow-up a part of the lake’s rocky bund in a bid to take possession of the lake bed. However the officials concerned managed to plug the breach, and they identified over 550 encroachments in the lake bed and its buffer zone. Some 700 odd structures have sprung up since then.”

The entire lake is layered with thick hyacinth. The lake has turned into a bid dump yard for the neighbouring colonies. Sewage is let out into the lake. Animal carcasses were thrown in to the lake, resulting in pollution. The lake has become poisonous for fish and birds to survive.

“As per HUDA's records, the city and its suburbs had 932 lakes and tanks till 1980. In the next 10 years, the number came down to 276. By 2000, HUDA found that the city was left now with only 169 lakes and tanks. The civic body has notified that a 30-metre buffer zone from the Full Tank Level (FTL) of a lake must be maintained and no permanent or temporary structures should be allowed. The glaring truth is that hardly any agencies implement the rule. The decrease in the catchment area of a lake has been resulting in inundation of the housing colonies. Land sharks are not even sparing the tank bunds,” Sarwath added.

Lubna appealed to the Telangana government to include the Bandala Cheruvu under Mission Kakatiya project, which was initiated by irrigation minister K Harish Rao, so as to save and restore the lake.

By: Ch Saibaba

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