Single post

The reason of lake disappearance in the villages no one wants to talk about: The poverty-corruption nexus

Mallampet is a village of Quthbullapur Mandal. It is located about 5–6 km from the municipal boundaries of Hyderabad city. Like many other villages, Mallampet too has witnessed the disappearance of its lakes, but not all of the reasons for this are natural. A close study of the political nexus has revealed an interesting case of lake encroachment.

In 2006, Mandal Revenue Officer (MRO) decided to allot around 300 pattas[1] to the poor people who were illegally living in the village. These pattas were around 50 square feet each and near the Outer Ring Road. However, once the distribution started in 2009, MRO realized that there was not enough land equal to 300 pattas to distribute in that area. Hence, MRO, in consultation with panchayat, decided to allot 160 pattas in the other part of the village. The land they selected for the allocation of pattas belonged to a lake area, Kottha Cheruvu. During the distribution, the lake was dry. Moreover, although the existence of the lake was in government reports, the exact size of the lake was not recorded in any official report. Thus, village and block level officers together distributed around 8000 square feet land in that dried lake. Some poor people constructed their house and started living there while some locals sold their lands to outsiders, mostly from UP and Bihar state and left the village.


In 2010, when the new MRO came, he noticed the discrepancies as people living in two extremes of the village, near ORR and in Kottha cheruvu area, had the same survey number. By then, one public high school also came up in the lake area. Sensing the danger of legal problems, villagers went to MLA and asked for a solution. MLA, as a political person, grabbed the opportunity of scoring political brownies and asked MRO to resolve the issue. In addition, at MRO’s instruction, within five days panchayat changed their survey numbers and validated the distribution.


There was no more problem until September 2016 when incessant rain for several weeks filled the lake. On top of that, storm water of villas (colony of bungalows) from adjacent small town, Bachupally, also started pouring in, as there was no water storage tank. Those villas were constructed on a land, which was initially a water storage tank. Construction of those villas also blocked the passage of water. Now in order to get rid of the excess rainwater, people in the villas are channeling the water towards the Kottha cheruvu and its inundating the lake along with the houses built under the lake area. While village sarpanch refused to take any action regarding this, some villagers knew the local Member of Legislative Council (MLC) and complained directly to him. MLC instructed MRO to take some action and MRO after inspecting the situation, decided to build a water passage to direct the water to another lake, Chinnagi Cheruvu, which is already water clogged. Thus, water is being diverted from one place to another.


The above case presents not just the politics of the actors in power but also the short-sightedness of the community who only kept in mind their immediate interests. It is never just the responsibility of the political actors to protect our common property resources. It should also be the community’s will to forgo their short term gains in the interest to protect these depleting resources and sustain them.

[1] A title deed to a property. (Source:

By Sai KiranSamir BattacharyaSumit Vij, Suchita jainAnshika JohnPoulomi Banerjee


theme by SaciWATERs