From underprivileged children who are being selected for national and international championships to those marching towards careers in the army, the lake is creating space for young sailors from diverse backgrounds to reach new heights despite the lake having its own share of environmental challenges.
Among those making sailing history after training in the lake are 14-year-old L Jhansipriya, and 15-year-old V Vaishnavi who recently made it to the Indian team for one of the largest sailing championships in Italy. “I overcame all my fears about sailing when I first started practicing in this lake. It provided us with a very calm and safe environment,” Vaishnavi said about her training experience.
The duo who are preparing to take part in the world championship in Italy’s Lake Riva Del Garda, which is known for challenging weather conditions, said that they are confident they will do well and that their training experience in Hussainsagar and other international championships will be of help.
Each year, around the first week of July, sailors from all over the country make their way to Hussainsagar to compete at the Multiclass National Level Sailing Championships. The event, popularly known as Hyderabad Sailing Week, is the oldest and one of the most popular sailing events in the country.
Meanwhile, another student from Rasoolpura’s Alpha Omega School, Manideep Perikatta, was selected for the Army Boy Sports Company in Bengaluru – set up by the Indian Army under its engineers’ regiment in February. “I got selected after receiving four months training at Hussainsagar,” he said, adding that he learned a lot about sailing at the lake and that it was a very good experience.
While stating that the lake has its own share of challenges, founder of the Yacht Club of Hyderabad (YCH), Suheim Sheikh, who has been sailing in Hussainsagar for almost 40 years said, “I used to go to the Secunderabad Sailing Club when I first started sailing as a 12-year-old. The water at that point of time was clear. At that time, we would be able to tell the wind speed by just looking at the waves that used to form in the lake. Now there are rarely any waves because the water is much thicker these days.”
Speaking about the pollution, Sheikh said, “I have always maintained that industry and population of Hyderabad cannot relentlessly pollute out water bodies and expect the government to spend crores on cleaining. We need a much more compliant and conscientious citizenry that does not throw waste into the feeder nullahs and then the lake will automatically regenerate themselves.”
Hardly any ripples despite huge spend
Despite the government spending hundreds of crores on cleaning operations, the desired results still look far away, Koride Mahesh explains
· In a fresh attempt to curb foul smells and algal blooms, HMDA roped in Bengaluru-based Nacof India for cleaning operations. These are likely to go on for another six months
· Nacof had undertaken bio-remediation operations in the lake in 2018 but officials say the results were short-lived
· HMDA has called for tenders for automated trash collection at four locations in the lake for five years
· A Canada-based company had taken remediation works between March and August 2020 but the contract was terminated as work was not up to the satisfaction of HMDA
· Hussain Sagar Lake & Catchment Improvement Project (HCIP) is the biggest clean-up project taken up for the lake with financial assistance of Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA)
· HCIP was taken up at a cost of Rs 370 crore of which Rs 325 crore has been spent so far. Works under it include construction STPs, interception and diversion networks, dredging of non-hazardous and hazardous sediments