Standing as a testimony to the significant improvement of biodiversity in Hyderabad in the last 9 years, the city has performed well in the City Biodiversity Index 2022. Municipal Administration and Urban Development (MA&UD) Minister K.T. Rama Rao released the City Biodiversity Index of Hyderabad at Hyderabad Growth Corridor Limited (HGCL) office in Nanakramguda on Tuesday.
The index is useful for monitoring, conservation and development of biodiversity in the city. Also called the Singapore Index, the City Biodiversity Index is the only index designed specifically for monitoring and evaluating biodiversity in cities. Earlier, Hyderabad got its City Biodiversity Index in 2012 (COP11 meeting), and Kolkata created it in 2017. Hyderabad registered itself as the first city to create the Biodiversity Index for the second time.
The index is prepared based on 23 various biodiversity indicators such as ongoing biodiversity conservation efforts in the respective city, support extended by the local government in this direction, measures conceived for enhancement of biodiversity. A total of 92 marks are allotted for the 23 indicators. Hyderabad secured 57 out of 92 marks in the latest index prepared by the Greater Hyderabad Municipal Corporation (GHMC). In comparison, the city received only 36 out of 92 marks in 2012. Hyderabad witnessed significant improvement in the Biodiversity Index due to the various green initiatives initiated by the Telangana government namely Haritha Haram, urban parks, rejuvenation of water bodies and forests to name a few.
Hyderabad, which was known as the city of lakes, currently has 1,350 water bodies spread over 2000 hectares. It also has important rock formations which cover an area of 1,600 hectares. KBR National Park and Mahavir Harina Vanasthali National Park in the city contribute significantly to biodiversity. Besides, huge campuses of University of Hyderabad, Osmania University and ICRISAT host wide species of diversity. Protection of the natural biodiversity in the city led to the improved ranks in the latest index.
According to the report, there are 1305 species of plants of which 577 were native and 728 were introduced. And, the city is home to 30 species of odonates, 141 species of butterflies, 42 species of spiders, 60 species of fish, 16 amphibian species, 41 reptile species, 315 bird species and 58 mammalian species.
Appreciating officials for preparing the Hyderabad specific Biodiversity Index, KTR said that biodiversity is a crucial aspect in the process of becoming a world-class city. The Minister said that Haritha Haaram, conservation of lakes, increasing forest cover, improving urban lung spaces helped in improving biodiversity. The minister added that along with the city, biodiversity in localities around it too will improve.
Minister KTR stated that the implementation of Haritha Haram by the Telangana government aimed at enhancing biodiversity in all municipalities. To achieve this objective, a green budget has been allocated for various programs such as Pattana Prakruthi Vanalu and Nurseries, which aim to increase the green cover. As a result of these extensive efforts, the green cover across the state has increased, leading to an improvement in biodiversity.
KTR stated that Hyderabad and other towns have received many awards and accolades for their impressive green cover and biodiversity initiatives implemented across the State. Minister KTR emphasized the importance of continuing these efforts and instructed MA&UD officials to develop a five-year action plan to enhance biodiversity. In addition, the Minister urged them to organize World Environment Day (June 5) on a large scale and raise awareness among the public about ways to improve biodiversity. KTR announced that the Haritha Awards would be presented to the best-performing municipality and municipal officers and staff who contribute to increasing green cover.