Gandipet still off-limits for citizens as HMWSSB keeps it shut

In spite of months since the lockdown ending and things returning to normal, the HMWSSB has kept the Gandipet lake shut, depriving citizens of green space.

Hyderabad: It has been more than a year since the historic Osman Sagar, known as the Gandipet lake, has been off-limits for the general public owing to the lockdown that was imposed last year due to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic.

However, with things getting back to (the new) normal, the lake is still shut, leaving many Hyderabadis disappointed and miffed at the board. In fact, the Hyderabad Metropolitan Water Supply and Sewerage Board (HMWSSB) has even erected barricades and set up a temporary gate on the path leading to the garden where the general public was allowed to visit earlier.

The road leading up to the garden on the banks of Osman Nagar being shut by temporary barricades by the HMWSSB. Photo: Yunus Y. Lasania

“It is disappointing that the government is preventing people from accessing a historic lake, which all of us Hyderabadis love to visit, and have been visiting since our childhood. I think the government wants to hide the encroachments around the lake and its catchment area,” said Siva A., who stays in Secunderabad.

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Last year during the rainy season, Osman Sagar was in the news as in spite of heavy rains, the water body did not receive much inflows initially. However, later water did trickle into the lake (during the heavy rains that lashed Hyderabad in October), which once upon a time used to be the main source of water along with the Himayat Sagar.

At one point of time, until some years ago, the Nizam-era Osman Sagar and Himayat Sagar lakes used to supply about 10 per cent of Hyderabad’s total daily water supply of 345 million gallons per day (MGD). However, with other alternate sources coming up, these lakes have become more like a surplus or standby sources.

“The government should open it up the Osman Sagar, as all public places have opened up with COVID-19 precautions. It is time the HMWSSB opens it up. It feels as if they are keeping it close out of laziness to man the place,” lamented Moses Antony (name changed), who lives close to the Gandipet lake.

When contacted, senior HMWSSB officials were unreachable or refused to comment on the issue. While one refused to speak to, and another refused to be quoted said that a decision has to be taken by higher-ups on the matter.

As of February 6, the water level in Osman Sagar stood at 3.029 thousand million cubic feet (TMC), as against its full tank level (TMC) of 3.900 TMC. On the same day last year the water level stood at 0.054 TMC.

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