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Telangana govt fails to protect lakes: CAG report

HYDERABAD: The Comptroller and Auditor General (CAG) has blamed the state government for failing to take steps to protect lakes in the state.

The report said that water quality, foam, weed formation and hyacinth in the lakes have deteriorated over the past few years due to neglect of ponds in the Hyderabad metro region.

Though the state government has been claiming that it is committed to the development of lakes and had spent several hundred crores for lakes’ development, in its compliance audit report on Protection and ‘Conservation of Lakes in Hyderabad Metropolitan Area’, the CAG found that the basic work — survey of lakes — was still incomplete.

Only 5% of 165 lakes were notified as of June, 2018, even after giving the work to consultant and spending about Rs 12 crore. The report said many lakes were encroached upon by land grabbers and efforts should be made to evict them.

The report pointed out that even in the case of notified lakes, the survey number of full tank levels (FTL) and buffer zones were not notified in the gazette.

“The identified 3,132 lakes list was not comprehensive and excluded 146 lakes. Final notification of lakes was delayed. Even in the lakes that were finally notified and were supported by memoirs of irrigation department, it was noticed that the FTL notified was less than that in the memoirs by 120 acres,” the audit report pointed out.

The Lake Protection Committee (LPC) did not have statutory powers to enforce its decisions and could not ensure coordination between multiple agencies like revenue, irrigation, and panchayat raj departments and failed to ensure implementation of its decisions which led to continuing pollution and deterioration of lakes, the CAG said.

The audit report stated that the Hyderabad Metropolitan Development Authority (HMDA) had given an action plan for conservation and beautification of 258 lakes to the state government.

“Neither approval nor release of funds was received from government. As a result, the action plan could not be implemented. HMDA did not spend any amount on conservation and protection of lakes, except Rs 12.62 crore on survey of lakes during last five years i.e between 2013 and 2018,” it the audit report said.

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