Activists in Hyderabad have accused the Greater Hyderabad Municipal Corporation (GHMC) of continuing 'beautification' works at the city's Malkam lake, despite obtaining a stay order from the High Court.
On May 25, the court had directed the GHMC, 'not to carry out any work that affects the buffer zone, full tank level (FTL) or inlet and outlet channels of the lake.'
A group of fishermen had moved the court, 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.
The fishermen claimed that the lake was a source of livelihood for them, and the move would have an adverse effect on their lives.
Activists from Save Our Urban Lakes (SOUL) had earlier said in a statement, "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."
They demanded that the entire landfill be dredged immediately.
"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.
"While it is true that the sewage is being diverted downstream, it is not being diverted into Malkam Cheruvu. We have constructed culverts to ensure that it flows elsewhere," Shekhar Reddy, superintending engineer of lakes, GHMC, had told the Times of India.
The activists were armed with two photographs. While one showed a road roller operating inside the boundary of the lake, the other showed workers digging, to plant trees on the land.
The court had postponed the matter, and asked the GHMC and the Hyderabad Metropolitan Water Supply and Sewerage Board (HMWSSB) to respond to the allegations.