Observing that the width Musi river in Hyderabad was shrinking in some places due to 'development' works taken up by officials under the label of beautification, the High Court on Tuesday said that encroachments were causing irreversible damage to the water body.
A division bench comprising Chief Justice Thottathil B. Radhakrishnan and Justice V. Ramasubramanian was hearing a Public Interest Litigation (PIL) filed by activist G Karunakar and pulled up the Musi River Front Development Corporation (MRDCL).
‚ÄúLeave aside the beautification of Musi river, first save it from extinction because it is already getting condensed with the widespread encroachments all around its passageway," the bench was quoted as saying.
Pointing out that authorities were allowing massive amounts of sewage and industrial effluents into the river every day, the bench added, "If the artilleries of the heart are filled with cholesterol, a bypass surgery is the only remedy to cure the patient."
The court even cited the case of flood-hit Kerala and said that the Musi must be cleaned up, if Hyderabad wanted to avoid a similar situation where the city might drown in case of heavy rainfall.
Meanwhile, though the MRDCL came into existence via a Government Order dated March 25, 2017, hardly any work has been done.
While JCBs have been pressed into service to demolish some encroachments which were identified, the actual cleaning process is yet to begin.
Hyderabad generates 1,483 MLD of domestic sewage per day, while the Hyderabad Metropolitan Water Supply and Sewerage Board (HMWSSB) is presently maintaining 20 Sewage Treatment Plants, with a total capacity of 750 million litres per day (MLD).
This means at least 733 MLD of water enters the Musi river. Additionally, the HMWSSB estimates that at least another 500 MLD of sewage is generated from other sources, which takes the total of untreated domestic sewage in the city up to 1,233 MLD.
Data with the Pollution Control Board (PCB) also shows the presence of E.Coli and Fecal Coliform bacteria, which indicates a high amount of fecal content in the water.
Read: From lifeline to a glorified drain: Will Telangana's plan to restore Musi River work?