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

Reported by

Faizi Ahmad

Published on

April 17, 2021

April 17, 2021

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

Other Demand/Contention of the Affected Community

Control the lake's contamination and demarcate the lake boundary to stop further encroachment

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

Page Number In Investment Document:

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

Andhra Pradesh (Telangana Area) Irrigation Act, 1357 F.
Exact provision unknown as copy of the Act is unavailable. However, lands within the FTL, or full tank level, are not permitted to be used in a manner detrimental to the safety and existence of the tanks; grant of pattas for the land in the water spread area is prohibited; and pattas granted, if any, are only for limited use, such as grazing of cattle]
Greater Hyderabad Municipal Corporation Act, 1955
Section 112(17) [Matters to be provided for by the Municipal Corporation - the management and maintenance of all municipal water works, including lakes]
Ministry of Urban Development - Advisory on Conservation and Restoration of Water Bodies in Urban Areas, 2013
Part 7 Paragraph 3 [Suggested Steps in Lake Conservation - The shore-line of the water bodies should be properly fenced to protect it from encroachment. A well-planned awareness campaign should be conducted in the localities to highlight benefits to be gained from them. If any encroachment exists on the bank, it needs to be re-settled/relocated in consultation with the affected people]
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    Lorem ipsum dolor sit amet, consectetur adipiscing elit. Suspendisse varius enim in eros elementum tristique. Duis cursus, mi quis viverra ornare, eros dolor interdum nulla, ut commodo diam libero vitae erat. Aenean faucibus nibh et justo cursus id rutrum lorem imperdiet. Nunc ut sem vitae risus tristique posuere.

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    Lorem ipsum dolor sit amet, consectetur adipiscing elit. Suspendisse varius enim in eros elementum tristique. Duis cursus, mi quis viverra ornare, eros dolor interdum nulla, ut commodo diam libero vitae erat. Aenean faucibus nibh et justo cursus id rutrum lorem imperdiet. Nunc ut sem vitae risus tristique posuere.

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    Lorem ipsum dolor sit amet, consectetur adipiscing elit. Suspendisse varius enim in eros elementum tristique. Duis cursus, mi quis viverra ornare, eros dolor interdum nulla, ut commodo diam libero vitae erat. Aenean faucibus nibh et justo cursus id rutrum lorem imperdiet. Nunc ut sem vitae risus tristique posuere.

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

What was the Decision of the Concerned Government Department?

Name of the adjudicatory body

Name(s) of the Court(s)

Case Number

Major Human Rights Violations Related to the Conflict:

No items found.

Whether criminal law was used against protestors

Reported Details of the Violation:

Date of Violation

Location of Violation

Nature of Protest

Public campaign

Complaints/petitions/letters/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?

Communities/Local Organisations in the Conflict:

Resources Related to Conflict

  • News Articles Related to the Conflict:
  • Documents Related to the Conflict:
  • Links Related to the Conflict:

Image Credit:  

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Documented By

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