It was supposed to be one of the biggest parks in the area around a decade ago, but Rock Garden in Hyderabad's Nallagandla area, has instead become a massive dumpyard.
More than a year after their pleas fell on deaf ears, citizens have now started an online campaign called 'Save Nallagandla Park'.
In 2010, the land was auctioned by the Hyderabad Urban Development Authority (HUDA), which is now known as the Hyderabad Metropolitan Development Authority (HMDA).
"In the HUDA layout released during the auction, there were designated spaces for parks, and Rock Garden, which is around 12 acres in size. It was clearly earmarked to be one of the largest ones in the area," says Vivekanand Pandey, a resident of Ramky One Kosmos, a massive residential project in the area.
However, residents say that the Greater Hyderabad Municipal Corporation (GHMC) has been using it as a dump yard instead.
"The GHMC calls it a 'segregation unit', wherein hundreds of small tempos and trucks carrying garbage come to the spot, and bigger trucks move it out after segregation, to the city's main dumpyard. More than 50% of the park is now a dumpyard," Vivekanand adds.
Residents are also irked, as the GHMC has been repeatedly stating that this is only a 'temporary arrangement' and it has been looking for alternatives.
However, the temporary arrangement has not been without repercussions.
"On certain days, there is a huge pile of garbage stacked up in the area. Depending on whichever way the wind blows, people are forced to stay indoors. The stench is unbearable sometimes, and we are not even able to step out. This has affected at least 8,000 to 10,000 families living in the area," Vivekanand says.
The area has several communities surrounding it, with five projects by the Aparna Group and one project by the Ramky Group, besides several smaller communities and independent houses.
"There are also schools in the vicinity, and the stench reaches the children as well. Air-borne diseases are spreading and the water table is getting polluted," Vivekanand adds.
Another result of the dump yard, is that all the roads in the area are broken, due to large trucks constantly travelling on them.
Once in a while, residents say that the dump yard has also burnt garbage, despite assurance from the authorities that they would keep track of it.
The citizens in the area have also sought the help of a few environmentalists like Professor K Purushotam Reddy to find a solution.
During a meeting on Sunday, residents discussed the various consequences of the dump yard, and explored possible solutions.
When pointed out that the GHMC would still need an alternative location to segregate the waste, Vivekanand says, "These segregation units can't be in the middle of a community. They have to be a little farther away. Additionally, there are also norms to ensure that these facilities control the pollution. Even that, doesn't happen."
"Moreover, it is the GHMC's job to run awareness campaigns, and ensure that people segregate dry and wet waste at the source. They can't give blue and green bins, and expect everyone to change," he adds.
"The GHMC is making no effort to move the dump yard, as it is comfortable with the current location. However, we do not want the dump yard here, and we need an answer on when it will be shifted," he concludes