Sunday, 28 September 2008

Musi Deluge 100 years later: Lessons not learnt yet

September 28, 2008
By Syed Akbar
One hundred years have passed since Hyderabad witnessed the fury of the otherwise tame Musi on September 28, 1908. The city, then a small royal town with no technological advancement, was ill-prepared for the unprecedented havoc. And even now, 100 years later, modern megapolis Hyderabad continues to be ill-prepared to meet any eventuality, in case the heavens decide to open up once again.
The Nizam, despite the limited technology and infrastructure available in those times, woke up quickly to the problem and got two major reservoirs, Osmansagar and
Himayatsagar, constructed across the river to protect the city.

The reservoirs saved Hyderabad of those days. With the haphazard growth of the city and encroachments on its river and tank beds in the recent decades, the problem is back to square one.
The then rulers had learnt lessons from the Musi floods and made quick amends. But the State government continues to sit on the flood mitigation plan that was drawn up eight years ago, after Hyderabad witnessed floods during August 2000, almost reminiscent of the great deluge of 1908. The city is still unable to take more than 12 cm of rainfall in a day.

All the grandiose plans of the State government to protect Hyderabadis from heavy floods continue to gather dust in official cupboards with no sight of immediate implementation, even as the Hyderabadis pay homage to the victims of the Great Musi Deluge that had left human suffering and misery in its wake.

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