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A mistaken decision (Government Order (GO) 111)

  • Category
    Polity & Governance
  • Published
    4th May, 2022

Context

Environmentalists and activists are criticising the Telangana government for withdrawing an over 25-year-old government order protecting the historic Osman Sagar and Himayat Sagar reservoirs in Hyderabad.

About

What is GO 111?

  • The erstwhile Andhra Pradesh government issued this order restricting any kind of major construction and industrial activity in a 10-km radius of the full tank level of the two reservoirs — Himayat Sagar and Osman Sagar.
  • These dams have been a key source of drinking water for the city for decades, and have also been an essential part of flood control, among other environmental factors.
  • With an intention to protect the reservoirs, the GO created a buffer zone to avoid any kind of polluting activity in the catchment areas from industrial, commercial to heavy residential constructions in the lake area.
  • GO 111 is applicable to 1.32 lakh acres of land in 84 villages, in mandals with proximity to Hyderabad, such as Shamshabad, Rajendranagar, Moinabad, Chevella, Shabad, etc.
  • The 84 villages fall under the 10-km catchment area of Osman Sagar and Himayat Sagar. 
  • Development in residential zones is permitted but the order specifically classifies land use of about 90 per cent of the area for recreation and conservation.
  • About 60 per cent of the total area shall be kept as open space and roads in all layouts in the villages of the catchment area

Osman Sagar and Himayat Sagar

  • They were built in 1920 and 1927, respectively, under the last Nizam-era ruler Mir Osman Ali Khan, after the devastating 1908 floods in Hyderabad that killed thousands. 
  • Legendary engineer  Visvesvarayawas brought in to make the city flood-proof. Under his recommendation to control excess water during floods, these two massive storage reservoirs were built.
  • The reservoirs eventually became a crucial source of drinking water as water from river Musi and Esa were stored in the storage units.
  • Musi is also known as Moosa or Muchkunda and a major tributary of the Krishna River.

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