http://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/...n-verge-of-extinction/articleshow/6241945.cms Yellama Cheruvu on verge of extinction? TNN, Aug 1, 2010, 01.02am IST HYDERABAD: The Yellama Cheruvu, a 24-acre lake near Kukatpally, is on the verge of extinction. In the last few years alone, the water body has shrunk by close to 50 per cent of its original size, due to illegal encroachments in and around the area. With land filling activity, for construction of residential complexes, still on near the lake, locals fear that the Yellama Cheruvu might soon disappear from Hyderabad's map. Intriguingly, even the catchment area of the lake has been filled to make way for private apartments, being built by a leading real estate firm from the city. The construction company has taken over close to seven acres of the Cheruvu to develop an entire residential colony complete with a badminton court and park. While the houses are still under construction the badminton court is already functional. This apart, another seven-eight acres of the water body has been illegally filled by a municipal contractor to build a housing society for lower income groups. While construction work at this site has been temporarily stalled, following a High Court order, residents of the locality claim that it is only an eye-wash. According to them, land filling activity is still on, but on the sly. "Labourers have been bringing huge boulders and dumping them into the water body in the night. They have also been undertaking some construction work during the same time," said G Balaswamy, a resident of the adjoining Jayanagar colony and general secretary of the area's welfare association that has now taken upon itself to protect the lake. While the site bore no sign of any activity on Friday, the area was filled with heaps of sand and stones. On inquiring, it was found that some labourers, employed by the contractor, were indeed on the job of filling up a portion of the lake. "Machines are also seen here occasionally. I think they are used for the same purpose," said a local. Residents rue that despite repeated complaints to the concerned authorities little has been done to check this illegal activity. From the governor to officials of Greater Hyderabad Municipal Corporation (GHMC) and the local mandal revenue officer, residents have approached everybody in power, but to no avail. "GHMC took up the case of the contractor and appealed in the High Court to stall the work. But that has not helped. They need to take strict action now," said D Venugopal, a Kukatpally resident adding, "Our complaint about the other private developer has fallen on deaf ears. That work is going on uninterrupted." When contacted GHMC officials said that the private construction firm had the required permission for the work. They even denied all charges about the land being part of the water body. "The site is at a distance from the catchment area and is not an encroachment," said Khalid Sarwar who was the assistant city planner of Kukatpally until recently. While Sarwar feigned ignorance on the status of the other encroachment, the local MRO came out in support of thecontractor. "It is a housing society project for weaker sections, the plan for which was sanctioned several years ago. As the area was not specifically defined in that sanction (the lake was not marked), some problems have crept up now," said Balanagar mandal MRO, Vanaja Devi, who is also in-charge of the Yellama Cheruvu.