Hussain Sagar Lake is one of the largest man made lake situated at the confluence of Hyderabad, Secunderabad and Begumpet. It is a sprawling artificial lake that holds water perennially. Its uniqueness lies in the fact that it connects the twin cities of Hyderabad and Secunderabad. The lake was built in the year 1575 by Sultan Ibrahim Kutb Shah at a cost of about Rs. 2.5 lakhs. The lake was originally constructed to supply drinking water but it is not used as a drinking water source since 1930. The lake also protected the citizens staying in the low lying areas around the lake from floods.
The main threat to the lake is encroachment by both private and public agencies. In the past 30 years, the lake has shrunk about 40 % of its original size (550 ha to 349 ha). In addition to the encroachment the lake also faces the problem of pollution due to the continuous discharge of untreated domestic sewage and toxic industrial chemicals for several years. Although several Central Effluent Treatment Plant and Sewage Treatment plant have grown up to restrict the pollution yet a considerable amount of sewage flows into the lake.
To save the lake, the Forum filed several PILs in the High Court of Andhra Pradesh (AP) since 2001. The last PIL was filed in 2004 in the High Court and the judgment is still pending. PIL was also filed under Special leave petition in Supreme Court by another environmentalist Dr. Haragopal in the year 2005. Environmentalist Radha Bai also filed a fresh PIL in the year 2006 to stop pollution in the lake. Crores of rupees have been sanctioned for the revival of the lake but the lake is still in a very poor state. HUDA promises to make the lake pollution free by 2010.
Several PILs have been filed to save the Hussain Sagar Lake. All the PILs are under the consideration of the HC of Andhra Pradesh and SC of India. The followings are some of the highlights:
PIL filed by KL Vyas, convener of the ‘Save the Lake Campaign’. The PIL was filed in the Andhra Pradesh HC against the Government of Andhra Pradesh, seeking protection of 170 lakes in Hyderabad.
The judgment on the PIL included the protection of all the water bodies in the state of Andhra Pradesh.
A petition was filed by the NGO Forum for A Better Hyderabad in the AP High Court against the government of AP, to save the lake from encroachment.
The court came up with the judgment in 2001, whereby it directed the government of AP to stop construction of any permanent structure on or near the water spread or catchment area. It also directed that construction of amusement park or related buildings can be done only after the examination and certification of the Andhra Pradesh Pollution Control Board (APPCB).
HUDA introduces a notification no. 3195/PR/H/2000 dated 4 May 2000, the entire area falling within the full tank level must be kept free from any type of constructions, irrespective of the ownership or any land use or master/zonal development plans that may have been previously notified. Further, a buffer belt of 30-metre width on all sides of each lake must be kept free of any type of construction in the interest of prevention of pollution to the lake and allow free flow of water into the water bodies.
A petition was filed in the nature of Propone Public by the Forum for A Better Hyderabad represented by its Coordinator, Water Bodies Wing, Dr. Cajole Jeevananda Reddy seeking for issuance of a mandamus to declare the action of the respondents in not taking steps to save Hussain Sagar Lake and stop filling up of the same as unconstitutional, to declare that the Hussain Sagar Lake area as notified by HUDA.
The court directed the respondents to take all the possible measures to protect the water spread area of the lake from private and public authorities.
The Forum again files a petition against the state government and the Hyderabad Entertainment and Amusement Developers Pvt Ltd seeking a writ of mandamus declaring an alleged inaction on the part of the respondents to prevent further filling-up and encroachment of the water body and granting permission to construct permanent structure in the name of Rock Garden.
The court directs a stay order on further construction in all respects until further order.
The Forum files a PIL against the state government and Viceroy Hotels Pvt Ltd., in the nature of probono seeking for issuance of a mandamus seeking to stop illegal construction of permanent structures between Rock Garden and People's Plaza and Jaladrusyam.
A division bench of the Andhra Pradesh High Court comprising Hon'ble judge’s justice Bilal Nazki and justice P.S. Narayana appointed T. Surya Karan Reddy, Senior Central Government Standing Counsel as Advocate Commissioner to inspect the areas around Hussain Sagar.
The court directs the APPCB to monitor and protect the lake from pollution and violation of Environment Protection Act 1986 and Water Act 1974. The court also stated that stringent action would be taken against the Viceroy Hotels Pvt Ltd if any point of time they violate the rules laid down by the APPCB.
The Forum files the writ petition against the state government as the respondents were filling up the lake against earlier court order for the cremation of renowned minister.
The status of the case is still pending.
HUDA announces Rs 300 crores Japan Bank International Cooperation (JBIC) aided massive project to prevent pollution of the lake.
Dr. Haragopal, an environmentalist files a special leave petition to the Supreme Court against the state government against the construction of railway line along the lake. The petitioner claimed that the railway may cause pollution to the lake.
In August 2005, the Supreme Court issued a stay order to stop all the activities in and around the lake and constituted a three member committee headed by R. Rajamani. The committee was asked to look into all the aspects of the lake and submit a report in 6-month period.
Remarks on Hussain Sagar Lake were invited from different agencies including the government officials by the committee. The committee proposed to report the measures that could be taken to avoid degradation in the lake coming due to already constructed railway line along the lake.
Environmentalist Radha Bai files a PIL in the HC against the state government complaining the rise in level of pollution in the lake.
A Division Bench headed by Chief Justice G. S. Singhvi had asked the State Government to file an affidavit regarding the steps taken to reduce pollution in the lake caused by immersion of idols. Veena Ish, Secretary, Municipal Administration, filed an affidavit with all the details. The Bench said that restrictions imposed by the Central Pollution Control Board (CPCB) should be implemented fully and all material immersed in the lake should be disposed of within three days. The Rajamani committee’s recommendation should also be followed.
HUDA and World Wide Fund (WWF)-Nature State office signed a MoU for undertaking comprehensive study of biodiversity of the lake. The JBIC aided project was promised to be completed by three years.
Andhra Pradesh Pollution Control Board (APPCB) reports high BOD in the water pouring into the lake.
Two French companies Degremont and Viola and a US company Ionexchange have been short listed among 12 other companies to construct a 30 MLD water treatment plant at a cost of Rs 90 crore. This is a part of JBIC funded project. According to HUDA the lake will be free from pollution by 2010.
Buddha Purnima Project Authority(BPPA) takes up wetland eco-conservation project around the Hussain Sagar Lake.
A German group, Lavaris Lake, came up with a ‘carbon add’, a world-wide patented powdered combination of chemicals (such as calcium chloride, sodium bicarbonate and calcium carbonate) that works on the muddled pool “turning it into water of potable standards.
In January application was invited by the Hyderabad Metropolitan Development Authority (HMDA) for consultancy services for survey, design, development supervision and project monitoring to implement Phyto-remediation measures for Kukatpally Nala, Hussain Sagar Lake
The Rs 300-crore Hussain Sagar Restoration Project aided by the Japan Bank for International Cooperation has made little progress though five years have passed since its launch. Although the Hyderabad Metropolitan Development Authority (HMDA) has allocated Rs 300 crore for cleaning the Hussainsagar Lake, the authorities do not have machinery to clean the algae. They are depending on workers to clean it.