Several houses were inundated after a protective wall of a canal connected to Hussain Sagar lake partially collapsed in the wee hours of Thursday after the rains.

Should we die for govt to act Rains submerge houses close to Hyderabads Hussain Sagar All images: Nitin B
news Hyderabad Rains Friday, September 27, 2019 - 17:41

"Water entered my home and some of our belongings even got washed away into the drain in the night. There was water until our chests. There was nothing we could do. What if our children were washed away? Who is to blame?" says Mahmood Qhader, as he points to his damaged house on one of the streets of BS Maqtha near Hussain Sagar, a landmark lake in Hyderabad.  

Like Mahmood, other residents in this area are livid. The manholes here don't take in water, but rather spew out drainage onto the already flooded streets. Several houses in BS Maqtha and MS Maqtha areas were inundated after a protective wall of a canal connected to Hussain Sagar lake partially collapsed on Thursday.

"The Chief Minister lives on one side and the Governor stays on the other. We are stuck in between and see what situation we are in. Nobody cares about us. Many of our houses were submerged last night (Thursday),” says Syed Akbar, a young man. 

Mahmood

According to the Indian Meteorological Centre (IMD) in Hyderabad, some areas received heavy rainfall of over 14 cm. Nampally, Rajendranagar, Secunderabad, Khairatabad, Musheerabad and Bahadurpura were some of the areas that received very heavy rainfall, that is, above 11.65 cm, on Thursday night, according to data available with Telangana State Development Planning Society.

As of Friday morning, the water level in Hussain Sagar stood at 513.9 metres against its Full Tank Level (FTL) of 513.4 metres. The gates of the outflow channels were opened to release the water to ensure that the level does not reach the danger mark of 514.75 metres.

Photos shared by locals showing the extent of damage on Thursday night

According to Mahmood, authorities (including  Greater Hyderabad Municipal Corporation and the police) had given the residents certain emergency numbers and asked them to dial 100 in case of assistance. “I did just that. I called them through the night, but help came only in the morning," he adds, showing this reporter his phone's call log. 

Mahammed Ghalib Pasha, an auto driver who lives in the area, says that a lot of water had entered his home as well on Thursday night, even coming out of the bathroom, soiling several clothes and other belongings. 

"I have lost a day's wages. We have been spending hours just trying to salvage whatever we can after this nightmare. Nobody in the colony slept even for a moment last night," he recounts.  

When TNM visited the spot, sanitation workers of the Greater Hyderabad Municipal Corporation (GHMC) were seen busy removing sludge from the drains and desilting them, an exercise generally taken up during the summer, before the onset of monsoon. 

"Earlier, proper desilting used to be done, so there was no issue. Now, with the rains, the water in Hussain Sagar is higher and we are a low-lying area close to it. So instead of the water going to the lake from here, it is returning and coming out of the manholes," explains Mohammed Yaseen, a local leader. 

"The officials also want to make sure that the water level of Hussain Sagar lake remains high as they want to promote boating and tourism for revenue. However, in the bargain, we are the ones who suffer the most. In one place, they diverted the nala (drain) to join the Khairatabad Sewage Treatment Plant (STP), but even that hasn't helped,” he adds. 

The heavy rain also inundated several vehicles. On Friday morning, a mechanic from the colony was busy inspecting several two-wheelers and attempting to get them to start.  

A GHMC sanitation worker at the spot also says that they are often forced to enter the drains because the sewage machines can't enter the cramped lanes of the slum. 

"The mini sewer jetting machines can enter but it doesn't have an option for suction. This means that we have to manually remove the silt and waste that are clogging the drains. We work all through the day, only for the rains in the night to clog it again, making it look like we are doing no work," the sanitation worker rues.

As the water recedes, vector-borne diseases are also a big issue in the area, as mosquitoes turn stagnant water into their breeding ground. 

"I was already suffering from a high fever and I had to wade through waist-deep water last night, from my house to my neighbour's house, which is on higher ground. I woke up shivering this morning," a young man suffering from chikungunya told TNM, as locals take him to a nearby hospital. 

Meanwhile, locals continue to be angry and allege government apathy. “It was a struggle to just ensure that our family was safe through the night. What will it take for the government officials to act? Should one of us just die in the rains for them to wake up?" a local asks.

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