Encroachments Obstruct Rejuvenation of Gangaram Lake in Telangana, Residents Demand Government Intervention

Reported by

Faizi AhmadLand Conflict Watch

Last updated on

April 17, 2021

Location of Conflict

Chanda Nagar

Hyderabad

Reason or Cause of Conflict

Water Management

(

)

People Affected by Conflict

Land Area Affected (in Hectares)

45

ha

Starting Year

2016

State

Telangana

Sector

Infrastructure

Almost two years after the allocation of INR 19.2 crore for restoration, Gangaram lake in Chanda Nagar, Hyderabad, has almost dried up. The amount was allocated in 2018 under Mission Kakatiya of the Telanagana government, which aims to revive and restore irrigation sources in the state. Under the mission, the lake was set to get a facelift with a walking track, a cycling track, sewage diversion system and an open gym. However, "the lake is surrounded by illegal constructions that were first observed by locals in 2016. That was when the people came together and formed Gangaram Lake Restoration Foundation (GLARE) to create awareness," Saiparasad Cherukuri, secretary, GLARE Foundation, told LCW. "Construction around the lake has reduced its catchment area and polluted the water," he said. Over the years, the polluted lake had become a breeding ground for mosquitoes. The water quality degaraded, emitting a stench. Growth of hyacinth was another problem. "The lake was a source of livelihood to the fisherfolk community in the area. With increasing pollution and vanishing aquatic life, fishing has been affected," Saiprasad said. The people have demanded the Greater Hyderabad Municipal Corporation (GHMC) authorities to control the lake's contamination due to untreated sewage and various effluents and demarcate the lake boundary with makrings and fence. According to Saiprasad, the lake's area has reduced from 110 acres to 6070 acres at present. However, plot owners who have allegedly encroached the lake approached the Telangana high court, stating that their lands were not in the FTL (full tank level) zone when they were purchased. Saiprasad refutes this claim because it is not possible "to claim a land under the water". The process of lake restoration was planned in two stages: sewage diversion followed by desilting. However, the work stopped due to growing illegal encroachments. Banners of private plots and fences started to crop up in and around the lake boundary as soon as the lake was emptied. People started using bulldozers to level the FTL land. FTL is the highest level up to which water can be stored in a lake/tank. "Gangaram lake is completely dried up as encroachers have taken to ground levelling," a resident, who does not wish to be named, told LCW. "The talk is that while half of the land will be converted to a lake, the other half would be used for real estate through government lobbying. A huge residential gated community, a politician's venture, may come up soon," he added. In June 2020, the Telangana high court, in a case similar to that of the Gangaram lake, directed officials to remove all constructions from the buffer zone surrounding the lake as they are clear encroachments. As of August 2020, the rejuvenation work for Gangaram lake was 50 per cent completed.

Demand/Contention of the Affected Community

Demand to retain/protect access to common land/resources

Region Classification

Urban

Type of Land

Common

Type of Common Land

Non-Forest (Other than Grazing Land)

Total investment involved (in Crores):

19.2

Type of investment:

Cost of Project

Year of Estimation

Has the Conflict Ended?

No

When did it end?

Why did the conflict end?

Categories of Legislations Involved in the Conflict

Other

Legislations/Policies Involved

Whether claims/objections were made as per procedure in the relevant statute

What was the claim(s)/objection(s) raised by the community? What was the decision of the concerned government department?

Legal Processes and Loopholes Enabling the Conflict:

Lack of legal protection over land rights

Legal Status:

Out of Court

Status of Case In Court

Whether any adjudicatory body was approached

Name of the adjudicatory body

Name(s) of the Court(s)

Case Number

Major Human Rights Violations Related to the Conflict:

Whether criminal law was used against protestors

Official name of the criminal law. Did the case reach trial?

Reported Details of the Violation:

Date of Violation

Location of Violation

Nature of Protest

Public campaign, Complaints, petitions, memorandums to officials

Government Departments Involved in the Conflict:

Greater Hyderabad Municipal Corporation

PSUs Involved in the Conflict:

Did LCW Approach Government Authorities for Comments?

Name, Designation and Comment of the Government Authorities Approached

Corporate Parties Involved in the Conflict:

Did LCW Approach Corporate Parties for Comments?

Name, Designation and Comment of Corporate Authorities Approached

Other Parties Involved in the Conflict:

Resources Related to Conflict

  • News Articles Related to the Conflict:
  • Documents Related to the Conflict:
  • Links Related to the Conflict:
No Images Available

Documented By

Faizi Ahmad

Reviewed By

Faizi Ahmad

Updated By

Faizi Ahmad

Edited By

Faizi AhmadLand Conflict Watch
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