Hyderabad: In a little more than a month, on May 8, Hyderabad will be celebrating 100 years of a project that began with an estimate of Rs.60 lakh and after all these years, continues to be part of everyday life in the city.
Osman Sagar, also popular as Gandipet, is not just a reservoir that has been quenching the city’s thirst for 100 years, but is also one of the most popular tourist spots around the city as well. On May 8, it will be a century since the project was completed, after being envisaged as a new scheme of water supply to Hyderabad and to prevent flooding in the Musi River.
Following the devastating Musi flood in 1908, the then Nizam had asked the legendary engineering expert, M Visvesvaraya, to investigate the cause.
Visvesvaraya advised construction of two reservoirs over the Musi and Easa River at an estimated cost of Rs.1.28 crore. This was approved by the 6th Nizam, the late Mir Mahboob Ali Khan on March 5, 1910. Since water supply to Hyderabad and Secunderabad was inadequate then, 7th Nizam Mir Osman Ali Khan commissioned the construction of reservoir over Musi first through farman (order) on July 15, 1912.
The project was estimated to cost Rs.57.35 lakh as per an expert Arun. Keeping in mind the possibility of price fluctuations, Nizam Mir Osman Ali Khan approved Rs.60 lakh for the project through a farman on November 11, 1915, a copy of which is available with Telangana Today.
With the approval of the budget, works for the new water scheme began on July 15, 1916. As Arun had left for Europe, the project was assigned to another person, identified in records as AW Stone Bridge. According to records and orders in classical Urdu language available with the Telangana State Archives and Research Institute, the project was completed on May 8, 1921.
As per records, the cost of the project escalated to Rs.89,37,810 in 1924, due to delay and also allegedly due to some mismanagement by Stone Bridge, who was in charge of the project, and also by his successor.
“As per the records, most of the project works were completed on May 8, 1921. Following this, water was supplied to Hyderabad. There were grievances from the people of Secunderabad over water supply. Even before the project works commenced, there was correspondence for 11 years between the government of India and the Nizam government over this. Finally, after an agreement, water supply to Secunderabad and Cantonment areas began,” says State Archives director, Zareena Parveen.
Before the construction of Osman Sagar, Hyderabad had two main water sources, one being the Hussain Sagar and the other, Mir Alam Tank. Initial plans were to supply water from Osman Sagar to Mir Alam Tank and Hussain Sagar via each side of the reservoir through open canals.
However, this plan was shelved on the advice of the Chief Expert of Government of India on Health Safety, Colonel Clement, who cited epidemics in Pune and said harmful substances and other pollutants may enter open canals during the rainy season. And the water was supplied through stoned walled covered nallahs and directly from Osman Sagar .