The Hyderabad High Court stayed all construction activity ď»żat the Malkam lake in Hyderabad's Rai Durgam area.
The court also directed the Greater Hyderabad Municipal Corporation (GHMC), not to carry out any work that affects the buffer zone, full tank level (FTL) or inlet and outlet channels of the lake.
This stay order comes just days after authorities said that they were planning to 'develop' the lake into a hangout spot, in four phases, at an estimated cost of Rs 1.6 crore.
Speaking to the Deccan Chronicle, Assistant executive director of irrigation department, Nagaraju, said:
â€śIn Phase I, we constructed boundaries as per the records that are available with us, the GHMC and the revenue. In Phase II, we will develop the walkersâ€™ path, toilet blocks, entrance plaza, childrenâ€™s park and amenities for morning-walkers like benches etc. In Phase-III, we focus on landscaping like plantation, lawn besides the walkers path with a 0.6 metre width on each side and purification of the tank. In Phase-IV, we install electric poles with lighting system at every 15 metres along the walkers path with an underground cable system.â€ť
However, several activists including groups like Save Our Urban Lakes (SOUL) had protested the move.
"We have been informed of night long landfills in the lake. This is a serious crime and the landfillers are on the wrong side of law. There is no use doing in the cover of darkness. The entire illegal landfill would have to be dredged immediately," the activists said in a statement.
"We have taken a serious view of this landfill encroachment which shrinks the lake area and thus reduces the space that is home to biodiversity including aquatic life. These huge landfills have also blocked inflow channels that are to carry the rain water to the lake as well as surplus fresh waters from Durgam cheruvu," the statement added.
Meanwhile, the HC was hearing a petition filed by a local fisherman, who contended that the lake was a source of livelihood for him.
The court has issued notices to the GHMC and the Hyderabad Metropolitan Water Supply and Sewerage Board (HMWSSB) and sought their response to the allegations.