Hyderabad: The City Turned into a Lake
What Actually Happened in Telangana?
Rains are known to play havoc in Hyderabad during the months of August and September. When the capital city of Telangana sees a dry spell of three weeks in the month of August, locals heave a sigh of relief.
However, things went from bad to worse in the second half of September 2016, when the city experienced rainfall of 67 mm within 24 hours on September 21. The next day, it recorded a rainfall of 73.1 mm and according to an article published in Skymetweather.com1, the city received total rainfall of 425.2 mm, which is far more than the monthly mean of 132.9 mm.
At this rate, it might even surpass the all-time high rainfall recorded at 499.4 mm in 1908. In 1908, the Musi floods struck the city on September 28 and took the lives of more than 15,000 people, leaving another 80,000 people homeless.
The entire city was devastated and about 6 lakh people were affected in nearby districts. Since then, the city has experienced heavy rain in 1954, 1962, 1970 and 2008, leaving thousands of people homeless.
What were the Lessons Learned?
The memories of the 1908 floods still haunt the citizens of Hyderabad. Back then, the sixth Nizam of Hyderabad, Mahubu Ali Pasha, invited the well-known urban planner, Sir Mokshgundam Visvesvarayya, from Mysore State to prepare a plan for the reconstruction of the city.
Sir Visvesvarayya submitted his report to prevent the Musi river from flooding, However, the Nizam he passed away in 1911, and the seventh Nizam, Mir Osman Ali, implemented the plan and two reservoirs of Osmansagar and Himayatsagar were completed in 1920 and 1927, respectively.
The new government started the work on a massive scale, with the formation of City Improvement Board. New colonies were established, hospitals were built, the High Court was established and the drainage system was improved.
More than a 100 years later, in 2016, 11 deaths were recorded due to flooding by September 26, according to an article on NDTV2. With much money having been invested to protect the region from this very calamity, it took all of five days for rain water to wash everything away! Even 100 years later, about 1,000 villagers were left homeless in the Kamlanagar district alone.
After the rains letup, Ajith Yadav, who worked at a food processing warehouse, reached his workplace after hours of struggle but found that the whole place had been destroyed because of rains. The employers had no answer for the situation and said it would take months to get things running again.
According to an article published in The Times of India3, 35,000 daily wage workers lost their jobs, 10,000 small units that were located in the low lying areas of Quthbullapur, Dulapally, Jeedimetla, Cherlapally, Kukatpally and Balanagar were completely ruined, leaving the future of thousands of villagers in dire uncertainty.
The families of those who lost their lives and didn't have life insurance, term insurance or any other policy to their name were left clueless about their future too. Ayushman Merchants Pvt. Ltd. reported damages of Rs. 1 crore, with more than 300 tonnes of their petro-chemical products having been damaged due to dirty water, according to experts at Life Insurance Company.
How to Prepare for the Future?
There is no doubt that Hyderabad needs a better disaster management plan. The planning that was done in the Nizam’s era was for a population of 5 lakh people and an area of 54 sq kms. Today, the city has expanded to 625 sq kms and is home to over 80 lakh people.
This is an example of unregulated growth and unplanned development. The people of the city need to be prepared for both natural and manmade calamities. To secure the financial future of their families, the best option for now for the residents of this region is to opt for a good life or term insurance plan, follow the weather forecast and contribute to maintaining a good drainage system in whatever way possible.