Weep to Safeguard Hanamkonda, Warangal, and Kazipet Against Urban Flooding.

Residents and members of people’s organizations in Warangal have appealed to various relevant departments to take action in safeguarding the tri-cities of Hanamkonda, Warangal, and Kazipet from urban flooding. This appeal comes as lakes, tanks, and nalas are being encroached upon by land sharks, a problem that has persisted for the last five years under the jurisdiction of the Greater Warangal Municipal Corporation (GWMC).

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Notably, heavy rainfall has led to flooding in several colonies within the GWMC limits, exacerbated by overflowing lakes and tanks, as well as a breach in the Bhadrakali Lake.

In 2017, a committee was established to protect lakes and tanks within the GWMC boundaries. Chaired by the district collector of Hanamkonda, and including representatives from various departments such as irrigation, land, mines, and police, the committee had two members from voluntary organizations. Despite meeting infrequently, the committee has yet to pass any resolutions.

S. Chakrapani and M. Sudarshan of the state consumer forum lodged a complaint with the National Green Tribunal (NGT), alleging that recent heavy rains had inundated colonies due to encroachments on lakes, tanks, and nalas under GWMC limits. They specifically requested the NGT’s intervention in removing encroachments within the Full Tank Level (FTL) limits of Bhadrakali Lake.

The Kakatiya Urban Development Authority’s (KUDA) new master plan identifies around 1,023 lakes and tanks under GWMC jurisdiction. However, many exist only on paper, and existing lakes are falling prey to land sharks. As per Building Rules 2012, lakes and tanks spanning over 10 hectares should have FTL limits up to 30 meters to receive construction permission from local bodies and corporations.

N. Prathap, a resident of Kapuwada, adjacent to Bhadrakali Lake, alleged that land sharks with political connections not only encroached upon water bodies but also constructed buildings and apartments by leveraging their influence. He cited the construction of the Mini Tank Bund by government officials within the FTL area of Bhadrakali Lake as an example of rule violation.

Chikati Raju, Convenor of the Kakatiya Varasathva Committee, revealed that the Bhadrakali Lake, originally spanning 621 acres, had shrunk to approximately 281 acres due to encroachments. Encroached land has been utilized for colonies and concrete roads.

Despite over 15 years of submitting more than 1,000 representations to concerned officials about encroachments, no substantial action has been taken. Consequently, a complaint was lodged with the Loka Yukta.

Higher officials from the state municipal department visited the GWMC areas and attributed recent floods to reduced lakes, drains, and the absence of retaining walls. They urged prompt removal of encroachments to mitigate future flooding.

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