Inaction over 6350 encroachments around River Musi led to floods

Back in Year 2017, the Musi Riverfront Development Corporation Ltd (MRDCL) had identified 6,350 encroachments, but no action was taken

Hyderabad: Who should be blamed for flooding in Hyderabad? Is it the government or the encroachers? It wouldn’t be wrong to claim that the government remained negligent even after knowing about the increasing encroachments around the River Musi.  Back in Year 2017, the Musi Riverfront Development Corporation Ltd (MRDCL) had identified 6,350 encroachments, but no action was taken.

It is rightly said, ‘Stitch in time, saves nine’, especially in case of Hyderabad which had undergone over 5,000 crore loses after the incessant rains in that hit the city on October 13.

Astonishingly! Even after the massive loses the authourities remained unaffected and take no action. MRDCL chairman Devireddy Sudheer Reddy said that they will take a policy level decision against the encroachments post the GHMC elections after analysing the fresh data collected.

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However, the chairman has agreed that the recent floods were the cause of encroachments of lakes and drains. He said, “For instance, the Lenin Nagar Lake was completely encroached upon. If this tank was alive, it would have stored nearly 1 TMC water, preventing overflow in Jillelaguda and Saroornagar lakes.”

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The authorities claim that they started the work early this year but couldn’t complete it due to the lockdown, “We started work for the identification of the river boundary and buffer zone in March, but was stopped for a brief period due to the lockdown until it was resumed by the end of July. As we were finishing the work of enumerating how many illegal structures were there, the rains began” said the Chairman.  

“A strong political decision is needed to address the issue. But, before taking any decision, we need to have a total count of the number of encroachments. We are doing that exercise now. Every structure within the buffer zone should be removed. We will focus on a permanent solution after the crisis. A master plan to handle the situation even in the case of 45 cm rainfall should be formulated,” he said. He also estimated that around `3,000 crore was required to carry out Musi rejuvenation works.

While the MRDCL chairman claims that the River Musi will be restored to its previous glory by 2024, in reality it looks like a distant dream in light of the staff crunch. The MRDCL has a bare minimum of around 30 staffers, which is just 10 per cent of the required staff. 

It is rightly said, ‘Stitch in time, saves nine’, especially in case of Hyderabad which had undergone over 5,000 crore loses after the incessant rains in that hit the city on September 13.

Astonishingly! Even after the massive loses the authourities remained unaffected and take no action. MRDCL chairman Devireddy Sudheer Reddy said that they will take a policy level decision against the encroachments post the GHMC elections after analysing the fresh data collected.

However, the chairman has agreed that the recent floods were the cause of encroachments of lakes and drains. He said, “For instance, the Lenin Nagar Lake was completely encroached upon. If this tank was alive, it would have stored nearly 1 TMC water, preventing overflow in Jillelaguda and Saroornagar lakes.”

The authorities claim that they started the work early this year but couldn’t complete it due to the lockdown, “We started work for the identification of the river boundary and buffer zone in March, but was stopped for a brief period due to the lockdown until it was resumed by the end of July. As we were finishing the work of enumerating how many illegal structures were there, the rains began” said the Chairman.  

“A strong political decision is needed to address the issue. But, before taking any decision, we need to have a total count of the number of encroachments. We are doing that exercise now. Every structure within the buffer zone should be removed. We will focus on a permanent solution after the crisis. A master plan to handle the situation even in the case of 45 cm rainfall should be formulated,” he said. He also estimated that around `3,000 crore was required to carry out Musi rejuvenation works.

While the MRDCL chairman claims that the River Musi will be restored to its previous glory by 2024, in reality it looks like a distant dream in light of the staff crunch. The MRDCL has a bare minimum of around 30 staffers, which is just 10 per cent of the required staff.

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