Illegal Structures Constructed on GO111 Land Despite Ban
Despite the GO111 government order in 1996 restricting any & all construction activities in the 10km radius catchment area around the twin lake reservoirs of Osman Sagar & Himayat Sagar, sources confirm there has been a significantly large increase in the number of illegal constructions in the areas covered by GO111. The National Green Tribunal (NGT) had stayed all activity in the 84 villages which are spread across the catchment area of the 2 lakes and designated the area as a no-construction zone.
After the last official count in 2016, the number of illegal structures stood at 12,000+ in number in the area protected under GO111. The same area under GO111 protection is reported to have more than 5 times the number of illegal structures today compared to the number in 2016. Unofficial reports indicate there are 60,000 – 70,000 illegal structures currently built in the catchment areas of the twin-reservoir lakes of Osman Sagar and Himayat Sagar i.e., the land defined by GO111 which encompasses the land around the lakes in a 10km radius. Currently the GO111 order is under review in the Telangana High Court due a petition filed earlier this year.
The areas of Shamshabad, Shankarpally & Moinabad – the 3 areas which have large parts covered under the GO111 order have witnessed a steady construction & development of many convention centers, restaurants, bars, luxury villas & commercial buildings. While one may think these constructions may be limited to roads & arterial roads, visits from the press showed that these new projects/construction activities have actually seeped deeper into the interior of the land, with villages having large warehouses, plots & houses for sale. The resident locals of the village report the activity in the catchment areas of the 2 lakes has skyrocketed post the re-election of the TRS party back to power in 2018 when the party had promised to get the GO111 order scrapped as part of the election mandate.
The National Green Tribunal (NGT) had made a few observations on its judgement passed in 2018 to stay all construction activities in the GO111 demarcated area & labelled it as a no-construction zone. NGT had asked the state government to ensure the high-power committee assigned made progress on deliberation of the issue soon. The panel was asked to make submissions & recommendations within 6 months but it has resulted in nothing till 2021. The NGT had also asked the state to maintain status quo on GO111 until a decision is made regarding the same after considering the recommendations submitted by the panel. All construction activities were banned under GO111 until the government made a decision.
The locality of Shankarpally is touted to be one of Hyderabad’s hottest property investment zones has majority of its area falling under the 10km radius of Osman Sagar’s 10km radius Full Tank Level (FTL). Activists who have petitioned for the retention of GO111 claim the purpose of the order was to protect and utilize the lakes as a resource for water to be provided to the city of Hyderabad, also the lakes would be useful in a situation of floods for flood water management. The activists warn that construction in the restricted zones of GO111 can lead to a catastrophic level of flooding at the level which was witnessed in 1908 when the Musi river flooded areas with water of more than 11 feet in height.
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