THE recent downpour in Hyderabad and its surroundings crippled normal life like never before, and also offered a serious food for thought. Hyderabad recorded continuous and massive rainfall for nearly a week that resulted in overflowing of many lakes. Many tanks were on the verge of being breached. The rain gods relented sooner than later much to the relief of citizens and administrators. However, the rains accounted for more than 30 casualties in the city. Nearly 40,000 people were affected by the rain ravage. The unhealthy sight of storm water drains, blocked by sewage and effluents, across the country, has repeated in Hyderabad. The city and a few adjacent districts were once home to as many as 2800 lakes. But not many exist today – less than 200 to be precise. Lakebeds have been extensively encroached upon by individuals and families. Colonies have come up on lakebeds. The result is there to see. With increasing urbanisation, the attendant surge in population is inevitable. Fresh constructions have led to augmented labourers who struggle for a dwelling. Politicians do precious little because their eyes are firmly set on vote bank. The authorities in Hyderabad have identified more than 50 lakes, which are brimming with capacity, to be taken up for repairs on war-footing because consequent to the unprecedented rains, three tanks breached, and about 50 lakes were damaged. More importantly, all the 185 lakes were running to its full tank level. Bund repairs are on the anvil. Clearing of the piled up of garbage across the worst-affected areas were undertaken along with pumping out of water and sludge removal. Machines were employed for silt removal. Volunteers had to fight with the unbearable stench that emanated from waterlogging. These men, the doctors and other health workers, are still toiling to put the city of pearls back on track.
GANAPATHI BHAT, AKOLA