Hyderabad: Many nature lovers and heritage activists rejoiced when the state government announced in 2019 that the historic Musi river was going to be rejuvenated through projects of the Musi Riverfront Development Corporation (MRDC). The organization had even finalized designs of a riverfront project on February 17 last year. However, since then, things have only remained on paper, as not an inch of work has been undertaken.
The state government’s plan was to make the Musi riverfront a tourist hub. It had announced that it will also organize cruise rides from Bapughat near Golconda fort to Nagole via the Musi river. All these works were to be executed with a cost of over Rs. 5000 crore. For that, the Musi River Front Development Corporation (MRFDC) was set up. Alas, the organization has been dysfunctional more or less.
Three weeks ago, officials of the National Green Tribunal (NGT) visited various locations of the Musi River and issued directions to the Telangana government to take expeditious action to remove all recent and temporary encroachments on the river under the state’s laws meant to protect such water bodies. Yet, no action has been initiated so far against illegal encroachments that have sprung up near and on the banks of Musi river.
The Musi River originates in Vikarabad district of Telangana near the Ananthagiri Hills, and only a 50 kilometer stretch of the river passes through Hyderabad city.
Speaking to siasat.com, MRDC Chairman and LB Nagar MLA Devireddy Sudhir Reddy said, “Walking track works are in full swing in about five places in the city: Near Uppal Bhagayat, from Nagole to Kottapet, on either side of the Chadar Ghat bridge, and near the Muslingjung bridge. The work will be completed by the end of February 2021”
He said the debris will be soon cleared in the surrounding areas of Musi and plants would be set up around the walking track.
Dr Lubna Sarwath, a city-based activist of ‘Save Our Urban Lakes’ said that the river has become a major place for dumping construction waste.
“Call it apathy or greed of money or politically callous attitude, over the years, the Musi river has become a major place for dumping construction waste. It gives more chance to the land mafia to encroach it and sell it, or to collect rents by giving the place to vendors or as parking place to vehicles,” she said.