Officials say that while they have been trying their best to control the damage done to the area, a real solution is still distant.

Inundated streets and homes What causes flooding in Hyderabads MadhapurImage: Twitter/Akhilesh Tandur
news Civic Issues Tuesday, October 01, 2019 - 16:25

As heavy rains lashed Hyderabad's Madhapur area on Monday, scary visuals of flooding surfaced: three cars inundated in water, their headlights barely visible. This happened close to Nectar Gardens, next to Durgam Cheruvu, a massive lake in the city's IT sector.

The flooding prompted the Cyberabad Traffic Police to take to social media and warn commuters against attempting to use the busy road, which connects Madhapur to Gachibowli and parts of Hitec City. 

Upstream, the Madhapur Main Road also saw heavy waterlogging, as water entered shops on the side and completely inundated the road, forcing vehicles on one of the busiest stretches in the city, to move in a single file close to the divider.

On Tuesday morning, as water receded, GHMC staff were seen busy at work near Nectar Gardens. Thick sludge on either side of the road were the only remnants of what happened on Monday evening.

"The water can easily drown a car. This is an annual occurrence. Each time it rains, the water rises, and traffic has to be diverted. Homes and shops in this stretch get flooded. It is a big inconvenience -- I also have to close my shop and lose a day's business," rues Lakshmi, who runs a tea stall close to the spot. 

A GHMC worker on the ground told TNM, "We are desilting the drain and clearing the sludge, so that there is free flow of water. The water comes from Madhapur and flows down naturally to enter Durgam Cheruvu. But if it rains again, it will definitely flood. We have done this already many times this monsoon."

What causes the flooding?

Monday's rain was higher than normal. Data with the Telangana State Development Planning Society (TSDPS) shows that Madhapur received the highest rainfall in the city, at 73.5 mm, followed by Jubilee Hills which also received over 70 mm within a span of a few hours. However, the area is prone to flooding even when it does not rain as heavily. Why? 

According to Padmanabha Reddy, Secretary of the Forum for Good Governance, both the private sector and the government are to be blamed. 

"In Madhapur and Hitec city, unplanned construction activity is the main culprit. They took up big projects and constructed palatial buildings and skyscrapers, but there is no proper planning for the drainage. In most of these buildings owned by big companies, there will be 500 to 1,000 employees at any given time. Yet, they don't have proper drainage," he says.  

"As far as Durgam Cheruvu is concerned, work was taken up within the lake's boundaries by the Tourism Department, even as several houses came up along the periphery. These are now getting submerged," he adds. 

Due to the unplanned construction, there is no place for water to go during heavy rainfall. 

A GHMC official, who did not want to be named, agrees, admitting, "Due to successive governments promoting this region as an IT hub, the entire area has turned into a concrete jungle, leaving little space for water to escape. With nowhere to go, the water either remains on the streets and in extreme cases even flows out on to the road, from the drains." 

Reddy says that a detailed study has to be done as to how this can be tackled. 

A massive cable suspension bridge; Hyderabad's first one, is also being planned across the lake, which has shrunk it further. Aiming to ease traffic congestion, the bridge is being constructed from the near the entrance of the Ambedkar Open University on Jubilee Hills Road No 45 to the junction near Inorbit Mall.  

Read: A shrinking lake, damaged rock formations: All for a hanging bridge to ease Hyd traffic

Mitigation, but no solution

Meanwhile, the GHMC says that there is not much it can do. Officials say that while they have been trying their best at damage control, a real solution is still distant. 

Speaking to TNM, Madhapur Corporator Jagadeeshwar Goud says, "We have constructed Vaccum Dewatered Cement Concrete (VDCC) roads to prevent water stagnation and damage, and ensured that there are enough manholes to drain out the water. Despite this, when it rains heavily, it takes us over an hour to clear the water. We have been able to decrease the time greatly though."

When asked about a permanent solution, the corporator says that there is none in sight.

"As far as the area near Nectar Gardens is concerned, it is a low-lying area that is close to the Durgam Cheruvu. There are complaints of encroachments and court cases pending as well," he adds. 

The GHMC has also faulted citizens, for indiscriminately dumping waste into drains that are meant for rainwater to escape.   

"Our sanitation staff has found everything from plastic covers, bottles, spoiled vegetables to even things like clothes, banners and hoardings choking the drains. The citizens must also be responsible. We have been creating awareness in this regard as well," Jagadeeshwar added. 

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