The National Green Tribunal (NGT) on Wednesday pulled up the Telangana government for failing to take steps to control the pollution in Hyderabad's Hussainsagar, an iconic lake that is situated in the heart of the city.
Hearing a petition by Lubna Sarwath, an activist from Save Our Urban Lakes (SOUL), NGT's Southern Bench in Chennai accused the state government of suppressing facts in its reports, while pointing out that there was no heavy metal analysis among the documents submitted to the tribunal.
Pointing out that it had been five years since the petition was filed with it, the NGT asked the Telangana government if it had taken any concrete steps to restore the lake. The petitioner had alleged that industries in the city were discharging untreated effluents into the lake, in an indiscriminate manner, which had heavily polluted the water body.
According to reports, the court is now planning to constitute a committee, which would include members from the Central and State Pollution Control Boards, Indian Institute of Technology Hyderabad (IIT-H), Ministry of Environment and Forest (MOEF) and the National Institute of Hydrology. The committee would be tasked with studying the quality of the lake water and submitting a detailed report.
After hearing all sides, the court posted the matter to April 8 for the next hearing.
During the previous hearing on December 12, 2019, the NGT had ordered, the state government, Greater Hyderabad Municipal Corporation (GHMC), Hyderabad Metropolitan Development Authority (HMDA) and Telangana State Pollution Control Board (TSPCB) to submit a status report “showing the present status of water quality in the lake and the nature of work so far done”.
However, in the hearing on Wednesday, the bench expressed its displeasure in the reports filed by these agencies.
The lake was originally built in 1563 under the rule of Ibrahim Quli Qutub Shah and fed by the Musi river. It was built over 1,600 hectares. Today, however, it stands at a pitiful 4.4 sq km. A thick stench of industrial effluents hangs in the air as one crosses it.