Hyderabad paying the price for destroying flood control system

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Hyderabad, Oct 16 | The devastation caused by torrential rains and flash floods in and around Hyderabad this week is another grim reminder of the havoc played with the chain of lakes and storm water drains that were working as a natural flood control system.

This is not the first time the city has witnessed flooding but every time in the recent period, it faced nature’s fury, it failed to learn a lesson.

Flooding of roads and inundation of low-lying areas are a common sight in the city whenever it rains heavily. Every time it is brushed aside either as a natural occurrence or inevitable consequence of the rapid development the tech hub is witnessing.

Whenever the city faced flash floods, those in power form committees comprising officials and experts to suggest measures to prevent recurrence. However, reports of these panels, containing almost similar suggestions, are gathering dust.

The extremely heavy rainfall of October 13 triggered a deluge in not just the outskirts but also in the heart of the city. More than 30 people lost their lives and about 2,000 colonies were inundated.

The last time the city had witnessed such massive floods was some 20 years ago. Rainfall of 24.5 cm on August 24, 2000 had caused the deluge.

As the city has expanded by leaps and bounds to become Greater Hyderabad, the rainfall at some Automatic Weather Stations (AWS) installed by the Telangana State Development Planning Society was much higher than 24.5 cm. The AWS at Hayathnagar, for instance, recorded over 29 cm rainfall in 24 hours ending 5 a.m. on October 14.

India Meteorological Department (IMD), however, maintained that the city recorded an average 19.2 cm rainfall. Irrespective of the rainfall amount, the scale of flooding and devastation caused by the latest flooding is unprecedented.

Many of the colonies submerged had either come up on lake beds or close to the lakes. Heavy rainfall led to breach and overflow of the lakes, which shrunk in size over the last 2-3 due to encroachments and construction activity.

Appa cheruvu, for instance, was spread over six acres. Now the lake has shrunk to two acres. Its embankment collapsed following heavy rains of October 13 and caused massive flooding in Gaganpahad area, inundating houses and the Hyderabad-Bengaluru highway.

Historians say Hyderabad’s founder Muhammad Quli Sutb Shah and subsequent Qutb Shahi and Asaf Jahi rulers with their foresight had developed and promoted a system to prevent flooding even in the highest rainfall.

The system comprised a chain of lakes, channels connecting lakes to the river, open spaces and swamp areas to suck in rain water and storm water drains.

The city was founded on the banks of Musi river, which was the lifeline of the city. After devastating floods in Musi killed thousands of people in 1908, the government of then Nizam built new reservoirs upstream and developed a new drainage system to prevent recurrence of floods.

The water bodies, channels and storm water drains, popularly known as nalas, were further improved.

“The city had a very good drainage system. Whenever it used to rain, the inflow and outflow channels drain down north and south basins into Musi river. Since those channels have been destroyed, water can’t drain into the river. So water is there everywhere,” explained Lubna Sarwat, an activist fighting for preservation of lakes.

She pointed out that lakes supposed to hold water were severely restricted in terms of both surface area and holding capacity due to both official and private encroachments.

“Dumping of waste including construction material has further curtailed the holding capacity. Since the lakes can no longer hold water, it is on roads and colonies,” said Sarwat, who earlier worked as convenor of Save Our Urban Lakes.

According to the Forum For A Better Hyderabad, a group comprising environmentally conscious individuals and organisations, the city was home to 3,000 to 7,000 natural and manmade water bodies such as lakes, ponds, tanks and other reservoirs.

Over the years, however, most of these water bodies have disappeared. According to the Forum, studies have suggested that since the 1990s, Hyderabad has lost over 3,000 lakes.

“Even till 1970, we had the balance. Post 1970, there was a frightening imbalance in the planning as people from all over the state started coming to the city. People started moving into the city knowingly or unknowingly and converted water bodies into buildings,” says heritage activist P. Anuradha Reddy, who earlier headed Society for Preservation of Environment and Quality of Life (SPEQL).

After the floods of 2000, the then government had constituted a committee to suggest measures to improve nalas. The committee, in its report, identified 28,000 encroachments and estimated that removing them and improving the nala system required Rs 10,000 crore. The report was kept aside as its implementation was perceived impossible.

Another committee for expansion and modernization of nalas was formed in 2007. It gave a report which was similar to the previous panel and met the same fate.

Subsequently, another panel of experts suggested various measures to improve nala and restoration of lakes but its report too is gathering dust.

Source: IANS

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An actor must be thick-skinned: Kriti Kharbanda

An actor must be thick-skinned: Kriti Kharbanda

New Delhi, Oct 27 | Giving up and sitting back has never been an option for actor Kriti Kharbanda who insists that as an actor it is important to be thick-skinned in order to survive. Adding that for an actor, there are always enough people to put him/her down, but very few who will motivate, she says, “You should be your biggest cheerleader. The moment you give up on yourself, the world will refuse to help. And when one decides not to, nothing in the world can break you. Before my big hit, people would say, ‘she won’t last’. However, I refused to pay any heed to that, and focussed on the positives — there were many still willing to put money on me. Then came the life changing hit. But it happened to me only because I didn’t give up and kept going.”

Kharbanda who will be seen in Bejoy Nambiar’s ‘Taish’ along with Pulkit Samrat, releasing on October 29 on Zee 5, says that the director managed to bring out the best in her and the role was both challenging and intense. “It is unlike anything I have done before. ‘Taish’ has introduced me to a very different side of my acting abilities. Working on this film has taught me several things which I would like to imbibe and utilize while working on other projects too.”

Expecting that the film will precipitate more work, the actor who made her acting debut in 2009 with the Telugu film ‘Boni’ and has worked in Kannada, Hindi and Telugu language films does not really see any drastic contrasts between the industries in different regions. “It is all about the the people you work with. I have had good and bad experiences everywhere. There is never a guarantee that if you are working within a particular region or with a production house, everything will be smooth or bad. For me, it has only been about personal growth, no matter which language I have worked in. How I used to understand and respond to a situation — I wouldn’t react the way I did five years ago, considering one matures with age.”

Excited about the kind of cinema being made by a newer crop of directors working on a smaller budget and willing to experiment with narratives, the actor who starred in films like ‘Veerey Ki Wedding’ and ‘Pagalpanti’ says she is always on a lookout for roles that pose new challenges. “So many talented people coming from across the country are coming forward with novel stories. I would love to be part of those tales.”

As one witnesses major films being released on OTT platforms, Kharbanda says that while an actor would love a theatre release considering the experience it offers to audiences, in times like these, premieres on digital platforms are understandable. “Well, if theatre releases are not happening, this cannot mean that we would stop working. Also, it makes all the sense to support the producer if he decides that the future of the film is on an OTT platform.”

For someone who does not mind spending time at home, the lockdown was not really brutal. “I am glad that I managed to learn several new things during that time including playing the piano. The idea is to constantly think ahead. The lockdown taught me to prioritize my physical and mental health. We now know not to take anything for granted.”

All set to start shooting for her next film ’14 Phere’ to be directed by Devanshu Singh, Kharbanda adds, “I have also signed something else, which should be announced by the last week of November.”

(Sukant Deepak can be contacted at sukant.d@ians.in)

Source: IANS

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Bookshelf: Books that spotlight children's mental health

Bookshelf: Books that spotlight children's mental health

New Delhi, Oct 27 (IANSlife) In these unprecedented times, when isolation fatigue, gloom and the fear of losing a beloved has also come to grip children, taking care of their mental health is of paramount importance.

Here’s a list of books that address the various emotions children struggle with, and can be companions to them during the hard times.

‘The Room on the Roof’ by Ruskin Bond

A classic coming-of-age story which has held generations of readers spellbound! Rusty, a sixteen-year-old Anglo-Indian boy, is orphaned and has to live with his English guardian in the claustrophobic European part in Dehra Dun. Unhappy with the strict ways of his guardian, Rusty runs away from home to live with his Indian friends. Plunging for the first time into the dream-bright world of the bazaar, Hindu festivals and other aspects of Indian life, Rusty is enchanted, and is lost forever to the prim proprieties of the European community. Written when the author was himself seventeen, this moving story of love and friendship, with a new introduction and illustrations will be enjoyed by a whole new generation of readers.

‘Who Stole Bhaiya’s Smile?’ by Sanjana Kapur

Bhaiya does not feel like playing these days. Could it be because of his new monster friend Dukduk, who is always hanging around him. No one in the family takes Bhaiya seriously. But Chiru knows there is more than what meets the eye. A story about the lingering effects of depression. The book is illustrated by Sunaina Coelho.

‘Hearts Do Matters’ by Anita Myers

What the world needs now in these times is love. ‘Hearts Do Matter’ supports children and adults through the losses and grief in their life. It teaches us that even when loved ones cannot be with us, we can feel their presence in our hearts. The new release is a beautiful picture book about a little girl who has a very special relationship with her mother. Her mother promised she would always be with her, and she shows in the book that she kept her promise in the most loving way.

Source: IANS

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Yotta infrastructure to invest Rs 7,000 cr for data centre park in UP

Yotta infrastructure to invest Rs 7,000 cr for data centre park in UP

Mumbai, Oct 27 | Hiranandani Group subsidiary Yotta Infrastructure on Tuesday announced to invest Rs 7,000 crore to set up a 20-acre hyperscale data centre park in Greater Noida.

The company said it has received necessary approvals from the US government for the park that will house six interconnected data centre buildings offering 30,000 racks capacity and 200MW of power.

The construction for the first building will commence in December.

“Yotta’s vision to support the Digital India initiative just received a big boost with the inclusion of our northern India campus that will enable us to address India’s growing need for data sovereignty,” said Dr Niranjan Hiranandani, Co-founder and Managing Director of the Hiranandani Group.

In July, Yotta launched the world’s 2nd largest tier IV data centre in its Navi Mumbai Datacenter park.

The company has also inked an MoU with the Tamil Nadu government to set up a campus in Chennai at an investment of Rs 4,000 crore.

“We expect our NCR campus to be operational with the first building before July 2022.

“It was a very natural choice for us to look at NCR to set up our third facility after Navi Mumbai and Chennai, given the growing needs of enterprises and intentions of hyperscale cloud service providers for expanding their availability zones in this region,”: said Sunil Gupta, Co-founder and CEO of Yotta Infrastructure.

Yotta is a managed data centre service provider that designs, builds, and operates large-scale hyperdensity Data Center Parks in Navi Mumbai, Chennai and Delhi.

Source: IANS

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