Sewage clogs Hyderabad's Begumpet, and the only ‘solution’ officials have is manual scavenging

Malaria, dengue and unbearable stench - that’s what residents of BS Makhta have been living with for years.
Sewage clogs Hyderabad's Begumpet, and the only ‘solution’ officials have is manual scavenging
Sewage clogs Hyderabad's Begumpet, and the only ‘solution’ officials have is manual scavenging
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Yamuna and her mother sell vegetables outside their home in BS Maktha in Begumpet area of Hyderabad. But by 7pm, neither of them can stand to stay outside. The congested lanes in the area are filled with drainage every three days, and no amount of cleaning can get the stench off.

And as if the foul smell is not enough, the place is swarming with mosquitoes every evening. A few months ago, a 16-year-old girl died of dengue. Currently, several people are suffering from malaria and typhoid.

“Though once in a month, the GHMC vehicle comes to do fogging in this area, but that doesn’t help. We need a better solution for this,” says Mohammad Syed, a resident.

(Situation one month back)

“My son just recovered from malaria,” says Yamuna, as she screams at her children to go back inside. “He is still weak, but he wants play outside. I don’t want him and my two daughters to fall sick again, so I usually ask them to play inside the house,” she says.

The people of BS Maktha say there is no proper drainage system in the area. While the situation has been bad for the last three years, things got worse in April last year, when a major sewer line got damaged in the area and drain water entered several people’s homes, due to which they couldn’t come out for hours.

And when monsoon comes, the situation becomes unimaginable.

In fact, the threat of drain water entering homes during monsoons is so high, several residents have reconstructed the entrance to their buildings.

(Yamuna with her children)

Mohammad Yasin, who has been living here for 30 years, says, “I increased the height of the entrance by 5 feet to block sewage water from entering the house. Despite this, the water reaches the hall of my house during monsoons.”

Yasin says he has complained to the GHMC several times, but the municipal body has not taken proper steps to solve the problem.

And the ‘steps’ they do take, involve manual scavenging, which has been banned in India.

When water entered the Shubhani Mosque in the area last month, GMCH brought in workers to clean a manhole.

“Two people stand outside the manhole, while one person goes inside and cleans it,” says Syed. “A week later, we have to call them again for cleaning. Since the weather is hot now, the water usually dries up quickly. But the stench is unbearable,” he says.

While the manhole was cleaned last Wednesday, residents say that by Monday, the lanes were clogged with drainage once again.

“There is no proper drainage system, sewerage overflows in lanes every now and then. It is difficult to even go out for a walk outside my home,” says Anita, another resident.

“Twice a week I have close my shop and waste my time on calling the municipality people and get the manhole cleaned,” Yasin says.

“We even saw human excreta floating on the road. It was horrible,” recalls Syed.

In January this year, a survey conducted by Smart Infrastructural Engineering Services Trust, along with 150 students from various engineering colleges, found that there is no proper drainage system in 80% of the city.

P Surya Prakash, founder of Smart Infrastructural Engineering Services Trust earlier told TNM,

“There is no system to dispose water as the roads are not connected to drainage pipes. Most of the slopes are not uniform.”

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