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Rains expose administrative bloomers

Rains expose administrative bloomers
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The rain gods have been benevolent on Telangana State. After a long time all the minor irrigation projects are brimming. Even inflows into the major...

The rain gods have been benevolent on Telangana State. After a long time all the minor irrigation projects are brimming. Even inflows into the major projects like Srisailam are heavy. It seems like the prayers and pujas performed by the Chief Minister K Chandrasekhar Rao, and millions of farmers are yielding positive results. As things stand, the State’s irrigation sector will have no water problems for the next two years.

However, amid the good tidings, the rains are bringing along the darker side of human flaws. They have exposed the inability of the administration in tackling the aftermath of heavy rains. One fails to recall as to when the Hyderabad was inundated to such horrible levels. The unpreparedness was such that a three-hour rain made life hell for residents in low-lying areas. The administration is virtually clueless despite five days of intermittent rains.

The Chief Minister is justified when he points an accusing finger at the earlier governments and turning a Nelson’s Eye when illegal constructions were coming up in the catchment areas of various tanks and lakes in the city. That he saw collusion between officials and some politicians also is an indication of the corruption that prevailed.

But then this was not something which was not unknown. The need to modernise drainage system was one of the main issues, which KCR had touched upon during electioneering. In fact this was one of the main issues during the GHMC elections. The civic body did precious little to alter the situation or bring respite to the man in the streets. Having never comprehended such a calamity, It was perhaps not prepared to handle the situation.

The administration has been giving lot of hype to proposed projects and action plans to make Hyderabad a truly global city. However, they never took up any works that were endeavoured to improve the basic infrastructural facilities like the drainage system. The main problem in the areas that have been inundated is that there is no outlet for the water that has been flowing from the lakes.

Instead of finding a quick solution, the civic authorities and ruling party leaders take pride in blaming the callousness of the previous governments. The opposition blames the government. But the fact remains that some of those leaders, who are now blaming the previous governments, were part of the government or the ruling party at that time.

Even the officials who granted permissions are part of the present GHMC and the government is no position to take any action against the errant them. This was admitted by the Chief Minister himself when he said that if action is initiated against officials then no one would be left in GHMC. It is a damningly preposterous but a stark reality.

It is time for the ruling party and the opposition to sit across the table and work out a permanent solution to the problem. The government cannot remove those multi-storied structures in the catchment areas. But that does not mean that the problem of water logging cannot be solved. If government can redesign huge projects, the drainage system too can be changed for the better.

The government should also desist from blaming the media for highlighting the hopeless road conditions in the city. Confront any commuter and pat comes the retort ‘where are the roads?’ The condition of roads on the flyover in front of the Chief Minister’s house is in a hopeless condition. The image of Hyderabad has already taken a beating.

While the administration and the opposition parties need to work in tandem in resolving such issues, the people should also realise that such problems take place when they directly or indirectly encourage destruction of nature. Hyderabad’s breathtaking historic lakes have almost vanished. A majority of them have shrunk while those that have survived are filled with muck. The city’s once freely flowing river, and the pride of Bhagyanagar, the ‘resplendent’ Musi, is now just a dirty drain.

Ask old timers of Hyderabad and they will tell you about Masab Tank. It was converted into Cha Cha Nehru Park. The area still bears the old name and that is the only reminder of what was once a charming water body. Anamula Kunta, another water body, was converted into a dump and then ‘revived’ as Vengal Rao Park in Banjara Hills. Environmentalists say this destruction is a man-made tragedy since the location of the water body was very good for recharging groundwater.

Yet another lost lake is the Yousufguda Cheruvu. The municipal authorities filled it up with garbage. The area where we now have the Jubilee Bus Stand in Secunderabad was once called Picket Lake. When Cyberabad was developed, several lakes were sacrificed for its construction. Lake beds were converted into high rises. There are apartments constructed on the Durgam Cheruvu.

The municipal authorities allotted 110 acres next to the Golconda Fort to the Hyderabad Golf Association. This area included three lakes around the Fort – Jamalikunta, Naya Qila Talab and Shatam Cheruvu. All this has resulted in loss of holding capacity of lakes as water channels have shrunk or vanished. The city itself has come to a stage where talking about the beautiful lakes is almost like dwelling deep into history.

By V RAMU SARMA

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