Civic Issues
From being a mosquito breeding ground to bringing rats and snakes into homes during the rains, the open drain in Yakhutpura area is a nightmare.
All images: Nitin B

It was in February last year that two-year-old Zaki Abbas wandered out of his house and fell straight into an open drain right opposite the doorway of his house, at Hyderabad's Yakhutpura area near Moula Ka Chilla. 

Zaki fell into the drain which was covered with a layer of stinking garbage and had sewage water flowing underneath it. The young boy died as a consequence. 

A whole year later, not much has changed for residents of the area.

While the authorities have raised a fence around the spot where Zaki died, locals continue to bear the brunt of government apathy.

"Nothing has changed and nothing will change. We have been complaining for years now, and politicians aren't even bothered. Even the death of an innocent child can't stir them enough to take action," says Mustafa Ali, a resident.

"It's an open breeding ground for mosquitoes and we are vulnerable to several diseases. The authorities refuse to act," he adds.

Until last year, residents in the area witnessed people, vehicles, goats and chicken falling into the drain. After several protests, the fence was put up to mitigate the issue. However, the solution is still out of sight. 

"The fence can barely do anything. At many places, the fence continues to be open or broken and even after it has been put up, the danger of a child slipping through the gap and falling in continues to be there," says Azeem Shareef, a shopkeeper in the area.

Two GHMC bins close to his shop that have garbage strewn all around them only make things worse for him. 

"The dirty smell engulfs the whole area, and people are greatly troubled by it," Azeem adds. 

The stench from the drain is unbearable, as it picks up trash from plastic bags to fecal matter, from many areas.

Splitting off the Musi river, which has already been dubbed as a giant sewer, the drain carries waste from the areas near Dhobi Galli, Padmanagar, Malakpet, Dabeerpura and Rein Bazar, before entering the locality.

To make things worse, the sewage water along with all the floating garbage enters almost every home in the locality during the rainy season.

Apart from submerging vehicles, washing away belongings and spreading disease, the water also brings creatures like snakes and rats along with it. 

Mustafa Ali says that he has made several representations to every official concerned, from the local corporator of the Greater Hyderabad Municipal Corporation (GHMC) to Hyderabad MP Asaduddin Owaisi.

"Instead of helping us, the corporator and the MLA turn around and abuse us when we ask for better civic amenities. They threaten us and try to intimidate us, so we don't ask questions," Mustafa says.

Both, the GHMC Corporator Mir Wajid Ali Khan and Yakhutpura MLA Mumtaz Ahmed Khan belong to the Owaisi-led AIMIM.

For years now, authorities have been promising to cover the drain with a slab, but no such action has been taken.

"People are tired of the authorities here. Despite all this, they still shamelessly come for votes during the elections," Mustafa adds.

 

Read: The Old City nightmare: A 2-yr-old's death in the sewer and Hyderabad administration's apathy