During the Hyderabad floods in October, many residents were forced to take refuge in government shelters as their houses were inundated with floodwater.

Hyderabad residents moving to a safe place during the floods carrying their belongings File photo/PTI
news GHMC Elections 2020 Friday, November 27, 2020 - 19:08

Urging the voters to prioritise the issue of illegal encroachments surrounding water bodies in Hyderabad in the Greater Hyderabad Municipal Corporation (GHMC) elections, UFERWAS (United Federation of Resident Welfare Association) and other civil society organisations have decided to conduct voter awareness programmes. They plan to remind the residents about the perils of encroachment, which led to the submergence of several areas adjoining the water bodies during the recent floods.

As part of these programmes, they would telecast Why Did Hyderabad Drown?, a 30-minute documentary that highlights the devastation caused by illegal encroachments and the controversial government policy, Layout Regularization Scheme, which allows legalisation of the encroached lands. Nearly 20 people lost their lives and several houses were destroyed in the Hyderabad floods in October. Many residents were forced to take refuge in government shelters as their houses were inundated with floodwater.  

UFERWAS, the apex body of resident welfare associations in Hyderabad, has around 4,300 members.

“The objective is to make citizens clearly understand the dangers of encroachments to their lives and thereby motivate them to take this as an election issue and make the contesting candidates commit to the policies and actions they will undertake to reclaim water bodies and prevent further encroachments,” they said. 

Apart from creating awareness on the perils of encroachments, the UFERWAS has prepared a ‘report card’ evaluating the promises made by their respective corporators and if those were delivered. They are using e-mails and WhatsApp for this purpose. 

Speaking to TNM, a member of UFERWAS, BT Srinivasan had earlier said, “We have mailing groups and separate WhatsApp groups that have residents from various resident welfare associations. We collate information and let them know about all that was promised and how much has been implemented. We never ask them to vote for a certain individual or political party. The residents are free to see the report card and then decide who deserves their valuable vote.” 

They have also demanded the political parties in the fray to ensure the constitution and functioning of Area Sabhas and Ward Committees and Constitution of Advisory Committees for Women, Youth, Senior Citizens and eminent citizens as per the Municipal Act, among other demands.

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