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Nallagandla May Not be Resident Friendly Afterall

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Nallagandla May Not be Resident Friendly Afterall – Indiscriminate Construction Poses Acute Air & Water Pollution, writes Kanchan Agarwal

Non-stop construction at Nallagandla flouting the safety standards, and the dust and noise pollution pose immediate health hazards; while the real estate boom and indiscriminately approved projects threaten the quality of ground water and life in general – the future looks bleak with excessive population and traffic jams.

The bulldozing goes on 24 × 7. There is absolutely no sleep. The vibrations are so bad, I can feel it in our apartment – Residents of Aparna Sarovar Nallagondla protest against pollution from neighbouring construction sites.


Residents of Aparna Sarovar protest demanding protection from the rapidly upcoming high-rise buildings in Nallagondla area of Hyderabad.

The residents of Aparna Saravor, Nallagandla have been keeping their windows shut, wearing masks at home, losing their sleep, giving up on outdoor physical activities, are almost stuck at home worrying about the future. They live in the fear of becoming victims of cancer, heart attacks, respiratory health issues, and fatal accidents, and the well-being of the elderly and worsening of existing ailments as the pollution nightmare unravels in their neighbourhood.


The reason is the pollution of air and noise from the work in progress at the neighbouring high-rise construction sites of a 50-storey real estate project called Aparna Sarovar Towers, and the recently completed 26-storey Aparna Sarovar Zicon. Excessive construction is a common problem in the newly emerging suburbs of the city, which is only made worse in Nallagandla as Aparna Constructions is not even following the ethical real estate building norms. 

The site is across a small compound, directly facing the balconies of several blocks of occupied apartment complexes, and the physical work of construction is active through the day and the night leaving the residents open to air and noise pollution.

Beds of Dust has Become a Daily Affair

“We have been living here for the past 11 years. My house balcony is facing the construction work. In the whole block, there are 80 families. For the last one month, the construction work is going on in full swing. We are directly being affected with the noise and the dust as of now. In the daytime, there are bulldozers and a lot of digging is going on. You can actually find dust and breathe dust everywhere here. When I visited it for the first time, it used to be a very green area. 


In the last 5 years, dust has collected everywhere; this area has become a construction prone area. In the night time too this continues, as they are not stopping the work. A lot of trucks carry loads and loads of mud throughout the night from 10 PM and that goes on till early morning. It is becoming a nightmare. There have been instances when the residents have complained to the police about the noise at night. The police come, the work stops for a couple of hours, and starts again,” explains Rajani, one of the residents. 

Real Estate versus pollution from construction

“The bulldozing goes on 24 × 7. There is absolutely no sleep. The vibrations are so bad, I can feel it in our apartment. They have not placed any green curtain or coverage of the site of any sort. They have also placed a concrete mixer plant, which gushes out a lot of dust and noise. We are unable to even stand on the balcony for a few minutes. I am closing all the windows and doors now. There is no ventilation. 

My parents live in the same complex, they are also facing the construction site. About 2 years ago, when the 26-storey Aparna Sarovar Zicon was being constructed, my father had a heart attack. He is a teetotaller—no smoking, no drinking. He is 82 years old now. When they did a CT scan, the doctors were shocked to find his chest was black. They found silicon particles, and said that he should be isolated from that kind of pollution. Now their balcony is directly facing Aparna Zenith’s site. I don’t know how to protect him. We have tried air purifiers, but they are not effective. He also needs to go for walks. I hope we don’t end up with lung infections. Some people in the complex are complaining of skin infections,” another resident of Aparna Sarovar, Vandana shares.  

Fears over Health Based on Facts Lead to Protests in Nallagandla

Seeking relief and protection from the disturbance occurring 24 x 7, the residents of Aparna Sarovar have taken a number of actions: 

  • Research conducted by a team at IIIT Hyderabad recording air pollution levels inside residents’ homes (PM 2.5/10) 
  • Appeal to TSPCB and GHMC with a letter requesting their intervention 
  • Police complaints about noise pollution after 10 PM
  • Protest of 100+ residents at the construction site 

No Response from Authorities of Nallagandla

As of today, the residents are waiting to witness any sign of substantial action of resolution by TSPCB, GHMC or Aparna Constructions. However, the apathy continues as residents face immediate threat to quality life and health.  

Voice of the Collective

A protest was held recently, on Sunday, 11th February, 2024. It took less than a week for about 150 residents to show up and walk as a collective with banners relaying messages to the construction sites to adhere to the rules and ethics of real estate construction and consider the health, safety and peace of the residents. By coming together and taking action as a collective, the residents are determined to become a voice of reason, demanding accountability from the agencies of real estate construction and the city governance. 


The Demands are Basic but Crucial: 

  • Barricades & Green screens to cover the construction site 
  • No work during night time 

Threat to Life is Real in Nallagandla

The issue at hand is a real, practical problem for the residents, and they are afraid of the consequences that may occur in the future, as much as they are deprived of a moment’s peace in the present. 

“Earlier they used to use bricks, and some portion of it was cement. Now it’s completely cement. They have cancerous properties. Now they have started constructing Aparna Sarovar Zenith without any protection. And the kind of health issues we are running into are dust related. My daughter has an allergic reaction to dust. I have a lot of throat infections. I have read about the effects of cement pollution in other cities. It starts with allergies, and throat infections, and there are possibilities of long-term deterioration of health. We are not able to step out because there’s dust on either side. We don’t visit our friends in the complex for this reason,” Sri Kiran, yet another resident mentions. 

The Scientific Approach

Kavita is faculty at IIIT and a resident of Aparna Sarovar. With her colleagues, she has conducted a study to measure the 2.5 and 10 levels of oxide, and indoor gases including organic and inorganic volatile gases. “We had placed sensors in four different apartments in four different blocks where they were facing the construction sites, and the site don’t have any barricades. What happens is the wind picks up the dust as there is an open space in a lake, and hits the building. We collected data for a period of two seasons. 

Basically, it showed that if you open your windows and doors, whatever is outside comes in, and that is leading to a lot of respiratory problems. And, if you close the windows and doors, the trapped carbon dioxide and monoxide goes up, and that’s equally dangerous. These procedures actually put a number to the correlation between the dust and their health conditions. We are conducting another study, of senior citizens, children, asthma patients, pregnant women to put a number to the correlation between the dust and the aggravation of their respiratory problems,” Kavita elaborates.  


Real Estate Boom – A Bane to Nallagandla?

The call for attention to follow the rules extends to other projects in the area as well. Nallagandla and the area surrounding it has become increasingly populated and polluted with many high-rise constructions. There are more concerns in the larger scheme of things.

“The problem persists on all sites — be it Ramky, Aparna, My Home. Let the companies follow the rules. There should be no construction at night time. Noise pollution and air pollution should not reach residential areas. Barricades should be constructed covering the site, so that dust will not be deposited in homes where people are living. Acoustic barriers are required so they can absorb or reflect the noise. There are set guidelines for sound coming from the machinery they use, and it should not exceed the certified levels of noise. If these rules are followed, there will be less pollution”, states Sudhakar, an ex-officer at Central Pollution Control Board. 

The issue extends beyond the comfort of the neighbouring residents to the environmental concerns of sewage management, quality of groundwater, and light pollution. “There is no organised network for sewage treatment, and all the waste from these sites gets dumped into HCU and Nallagandla lake. The data they are submitting for environmental clearance has not been updated after 2011. There were only 2 sites in 2011. Soon, ground water will be unsuitable for residential usage. There is already light pollution from the promotional lights on the hoardings of these real estate projects”, Sudhakar illuminates. “In not many years from now, this will be the most polluted area with the most jammed roads,” he says regrettably.  

No Space for Nostalgia

It’s a sad path considering it’s so close to the prestigious Hyderabad Central University, a landmark where intellectuals, academics and the artistic community of the City of Hyderabad have found sanctuary and friends once upon a time in its lush and green environment. 


What Are the Broken Promises in Nallagandla?

The residents of Aparna Sarovar can’t help but wonder about the integrity of the approval of the project, beyond the integrity of the conduct of the construction work, and the securities they were promised at the time of purchase. 

And, the problems are many – 

  • Currently, the elderly are suffering. They have had heart attacks. 
  • There is fear of cancer due to cement. 
  • Students are unable to concentrate for exams. 
  • Children are unable to play freely.  
  • Working adults are unable to take a break from desk work, and go for a simple walk. 
  • The gas bank was in the danger of explosion, but fortunately the request was adhered to immediately. 
  • A fatal accident almost took place when a metallic rod fell on the road from the construction site, just missing the top of a car passing by, and pedestrians were walking. 
  • As it will be a much taller construction, it is already blocking sunlight, and it can be expected that there will be no sunlight for the residents of Aparna Sarovar in the future. 
  • There is concern about the magnitude of the project, as they are digging deep for a 50-storey building on a 5-acre plot, and it could affect the foundation of the neighbouring buildings. 

“I have been living in Aparna Sarovar now for more than 10 years. I work at Accenture in IT services. Due to the nature of my work, the primary reason we moved here was for the space to walk within our complex, and have a healthy lifestyle. We are not visiting our friends on the other side, either. We are basically living in a prison kind of an environment now within our home, the windows are completely closed. There is an increase in frustration; our social life has been impacted,” says Sri Kiran. 

It is exam time, and it is hard to imagine the students living at Aparna Sarovar are indifferent to the situation. “It is distracting. I use headphones to cut out noise. It helps to an extent”, Nandan Shaurya, a science student of FIITJEE Miyapur says.

With Great Power, Comes Great Responsibility

Who is responsible for the chaos that has piled up over the years, and who is going to make it right are the big questions of the moment. 

“It’s not for us to tell what the construction company should do and it’s not for us to tell what the government should do. The government knows, the construction companies know. People know they won’t do it because they don’t have to do it. There’s nobody regulating them and it’s very sad that each time there is an issue, citizens have to go on the road and protest. It’s almost like we have nothing else to do, so every Sunday you start a protest. I think it’s really sad that we had old people, 80-year-olds, who came out yesterday to protest, walked for a whole hour, they definitely have better things to do at that age. 

So why is that—because the government is doing nothing, we have made so many complaints to the Central Pollution Control Board individually and as a group but there’s been no response at all”, Kavita unravels. 

She also throws light on how the pollution is just as harmful to the labourers working on the construction sites working in closest proximity to the carcinogenic cement and with the least protection of any kind. Who is asking after their health, is also one of her big questions.

“Old people suffer, children suffer, the primary objective of the government is to take responsibility for its citizens”, says Sudhakar. 

A Plea for a Life of Peace and Dignity

For three years, the Nallagandla residents of Aparna Sarovar have endured the pollution from the last project Aparna Zicon. They have endured and suffered in silence. The situation is unbearable now and they don’t want to stand for it. 

In addition to the inconvenience and mental stress the residents suffer from, the joy of living at home is no longer a guarantee, they are concerned about losing the concept of home altogether. 

The protest is a plea to the constructors and the protectors of law to remember that the old residents are suffering, as they make way for the new residents, who will most likely suffer similarly in the future if negligence and inaction becomes the norm. 

It’s an appeal to their humanity, to let their homes be homes. It’s a plea for a simple and peaceful life, respect for their right to life, peace, dignity, their right to simple necessities in life like a good night’s sleep, sunlight, a walk in the park, and relief from the constant fear of an untimely and painful death. 

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