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Telangana: Land sharks convert tank into a park

Posted November 15th, 2017, 10:59 AM IST

Telangana: Land sharks convert tank into a park

Hyderabad: An official investigation has confirmed the encroachment of Dharmoni (Bathukamma) Kunta in Jangaon. The state government had ordered an internal inquiry into the issue after allegations and counter-allegations being made by Mr Devasena, the collector of Jangaon, and TRS MLA M. Yadagiri Reddy. As per the inquiry report, which is available with this newspaper, drastic changes have been made to the tank bed and its surro-undings between Nove-mber 2016 and May 2017. The area no longer looks like tank, but ins-tead resembles a park.

The officials conducting the investigation have examined the data fro-m 2011 to 2017, with data from 2001 being considered the reference baseline, to determine what changes and modifications have been made. As per satellite images from March 2011, no major changes had been made to the parameters of the tank and its catchment area. The only change noticed was in the barren upland adjoining the western part of the tank, where a 40-feet road connecting to the Suryapet-Warangal main road was developed.

Officials have found that the tank has undergone drastic hydrological and physiographical changes. The tank area has been reduced from 15.9 acres to 12.5 acres. The shape of the tank, which was originally elongated in the north-south direction, is now elongated in the east-west direction. The tank bed has been levelled and divided into three parts — a 0.56 acre temple area, a 6.93 acre garden area, and a 5.01 acre pool with a rock embankment. A walking path and a co-mpound wall have been constructed around ea-ch of the three sections.

The inflow channel at the northern tip of the tank has been blocked and the water is directly being diverted to the Pedda Cheruvu through a canal. At present, there are no natural inflows to the tank. Similarly, the outlet channel at the southern tip of the tank has also been closed. In addition, the sluice constructed at the northern end of the tank bund to facilitate irrigation has also been abandoned, closed on one side and covered with ramp. The second sluice which at the centre of the bund has been left untouched. What was once the command area of the tank, has now been converted into housing blocks between Novem-ber 2016 and May 2017. The probe committee said that the change in land use patterns of the tank bed and the ayacut area intended for agriculture is in violation of the guidelines by the Supreme Court.