The Hyderabad High Court pulled up the Hyderabad Metropolitan Development Authority (HMDA) on Tuesday, over several constructions that had come up within 10 km of the Osmansagar and Himayathsagar reservoirs, in violation of Government Order (GO) 111.
GO 111 was issued in 1996, and "prohibits industries, major hotels, residential colonies or other establishments that generate pollution in the catchment of Himayatsagar and Osmansagar, up to 10 km from the full tank level (FTL) of the lakes."
According to reports, the court was hearing a PIL filed by Quality Foundation Organisation, which pointed out that several private engineering colleges constructed structures, in violation of the 10 km rule.
The petitioner also claimed that these structures did not have the permission of the HMDA and the Greater Hyderabad Municipal Corporation (GHMC).
In response, the HMDA's counsel argued that around 84 villages fell under the area covered by GO 111, and pointed out that many locals had demanded that the 10km area be reduced.
Built in 1920 after the Musi floods of 1908, the Osmansagar reservoir, also known as the Gandipet lake, provided drinking water to Hyderabad in the early 20th century.
In February this year, activists released photos, which suggested that the state had gone ahead and built a road right inside the FTL of the lake, near Kanapur village.
An investigation at the time by environmentalist Thakur Rajkumar Singh, who filed a petition with the National Green Tribunal (NGT), also found fencing being carried out by the Cyberabad police as part of the â€˜Save Gandipet projectâ€™, in violation of the GO.
In fact, Singh had earlier told The Hindu that close to 12,500 illegal structures have come up in violation of the GO.