Why residents of this Hyderabad colony are procuring boats

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BY MOHAMMED SHAFEEQ
Hyderabad, Oct 20 (IANS)
With heavy rains and flash floods inundating Hyderabad’s Nadeem Colony, authorities pressed into service a few boats for rescue and relief operations, but a week later a couple of boats are still seen floating in the flooded waters in the area.
Abdul Qadeer and his friends sail from door to door, supplying free food, milk packets and water bottles to those still trapped in inundated houses. There was another inflatable boat seen floating in the area to provide relief.
These are not the boats of the National Disaster Response Force (NDRF) or Disaster Response Force (DRF) of the Greater Hyderabad Municipal Corporation (GHMC).
With the colony facing perennial problems of water-logging and as there is no end in sight to recurring floods, a couple of residents of the colony have procured boats to remain prepared for the worst.
Abdul Bari, a relative of Abdul Qadeer, brought the inflatable boat with a seating capacity of 5-6 persons from a recent trip to the US.
Though Abdul Qadeer’s house is also inundated with 2-3 feet of water, this did not deter him and some others from helping those who are the worst hit. “The next lane still has five feet of water and this boat is the only means to reach out to the people who have taken shelter on the first or second floor of their houses,” Abdul Qadeer told IANS.
A senior accountant in a private engineering college, he has been living in the colony in Toli Chowki area since 1989. Whenever it rains heavily, the colony gets inundated but the residents have learnt to live with a couple of feet of water every year. “This is the third worst flood. We earlier saw a similar situation in 1989 and 2000,” said Abdul Qadeer.
The colony is located near Shah Hatim pond, which gets stormwater from various uphill localities in Jubilee Hills. The residents in this colony of 500 to 600 families deny that they built the houses in Full Tank Level (FTL).
According to them, the main reason for water logging is the encroachments on the pond. “The pond in 1989 was spread over 35-40 acres but now it is just 17 acres because of encroachments,” he said.
Syed Azhar, a businessman who has been living in the colony for 20 years, said a part of the pond was filled with debris to build houses and a golf course.
The flow of stormwater was also disrupted due to encroachments which led to narrowing of the drains at various points.
Several visits by public representatives and officials and assurances over the years have failed to change the destiny of the colony.
Despite their houses still remaining under water and with no electricity for more than a week, people like Abdul Qadeer are doing their bit to help those worst hit.
Asia Begum, who had to shift to her sister’s house in another colony, cooks food for 50-70 people every day and brings it to Nadeem Colony for distribution. “This is the testing time for all and this is the time to earn good rewards,” she said.
Some families are not ready to leave the houses as they either fear thefts or have no relatives where they can shift. “They can’t go to any other place. In these pandemic times even the guests are not being welcomed,” said Abdul Bari, who also comes here from another area in the city to take part in relief work.
One of the worst floods in Hyderabad’s history last week claimed 33 lives and inundated hundreds of colonies in and around the city.

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