Encroachment of lakes is, more often than not, attributed to land sharks. But not so in case of Shah Hatim Lake. Politicians and civic officials are the biggest encroachers of this lake shrunk to half its original spread now. Tonnes of construction and demolition debris besides garbage collected from surrounding areas was dumped inside the lake during the ‘Swachh Hyderabad’ drive taken up in 2015.
Though it was stopped after some time due to uproar in media, the existing debris was taken as a cue by others to deposit more, thereby resulting in the worst ever choking of the lake.
The lake dates back to the Qutubshahi era, and is part of the network of four known lakes, says Lubna Sarwath from the Save Our Urban Lakes (SOUL). “The water from Shah Hatim Lake and Jamali Kunta drained into another lake in Naya Quila inside Golconda, and from there, the water would be carried to Langar Houz lake. From there, it would be connected to Musi River. Enroute, these two lakes would supply water to the age-old Qutubshahi garden,” Ms.Sarwath said.
The choking of the lakes began with the construction of golf course, and the 37-acre Jamali Kunta was soon cut off from its channels, and built upon, she says. Burgeoning colonies around the Shah Hatim Lake choked the tank of supplies from its catchment area. Instead, it became receptacle to a large amount of sewage from all the colonies.
During heavy rains, colonies that rose up in the catchment area experience large-scale flooding, and an example is the Nadeem Colony which witnessed repeated inundation between 2000 and 2010.
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