As the recent floods crippled the most argued-over cosmopolitan city of Hyderabad, the questions remain to hold the element of plausibility that how much pragmatic, foresighted, and hard-wearing our town planning system is that can’t even endure a few days of incessant rains despite spending huge funds to buttress the mammoth infrastructure all these years?
No doubt, there are several aspects that have played a role in wreaking havoc in the city but encroachment over lakes is one of the leading elements behind attracting nature’s wrath over the city every few years. Lubna Sarwat, a forerunner of the campaign against encroachment over water bodies and General Secretary of Socialist Party of India said, “It is an incontrovertible fact that the majority of areas, presently immersed into floodwater, have come up over water bodies over the years chocking their space with an unprecedented level of encroachments. Even the inlet and outlet channels of the water bodies are not been spared from encroachments that, when the time comes, has played a devastating role by blocking flood flows itself to let the fury take a heavy toll on the inhabitants.”
“Rain a blessing, she said, turned into terror only because the officials and elected representatives did not protect the water bodies which are their bounden duty. As per the conditions laid in the LRS, the lake FTLs will not be regularized but on the ground, the constructions inside water bodies are never evicted, nor is there any mention in the GO about evictions for such constructions found in FTLs and buffer zones,” she bemoaned
“Blaming that the successive governments take refuge in extending LRS and BRS schemes time and again to regularize the illegal encroachments only to encourage recalcitrance in order to remain in power, she added that “spending crores of rupees on promoting infrastructure on the other that can’t even come to rescue the citizens during disasters and can’t even ensure basic security of life and property.”
“All these years we have spent millions of rupees to promote a state of the art infrastructure in order to make the city engrave its name over the global platform on par with other international cities that are largely known for their cosmopolitan status, comprehensive town planning system and scores of citizen-centric facilities and development. However, take a look back at the country and ask whether we have succeeded even in attained one-third of the development compares to other developing countries predominantly known for providing amenities and services mainly to the people of their own homeland?” Rued Kamelakar Jitender a city-based social activist.
“We are not against the LRS Scheme but there should be some logical reasoning behind granting approval to the unauthorized layouts time and again. Already a large number of water bodies were chocked to such an extent that their ceased their existence due to closer of inlets and outlet channels. There should be some foolproof mechanism to curtail further encroachments over water bodies,” he asserted.