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| Last Updated:10/03/2014

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Ripples of protest over neglect of water bodies

The Hindu, 09 March 2014


Let us get back the glory of Tambaram: lakes and ponds with crystal-clear water, says T.S. ATUL SWAMINATHAN


Neglected water body:From its original size of 50 acres, Peerkankaranai lake today has reduced to 10.Photo: M. Karunakaran


Tambaram is called the ‘Gateway to Chennai.’ But this entry point has turned an eyesore due to indiscriminate dumping of wastes. Not much is being done to protect its water bodies and reservoirs from such activity. Tambaram and its surrounding localities were blessed with number of water bodies which had crystal clear water and served as sources for potable water sources, a couple of decades ago.


Peerkankaranai Lake, on NH-45 Highway between Tambaram and Perungalathur, is today nothing short of a dump yard and reservoir of sewage. Residents of Peerkankaranai said that the original expanse of the lake was more than 50 acres, but today it had reduced to around 10 to 15 acres.


Encroachments like garbage disposal, dense vegetation, residential localities around the water body and compost yard by Peerkankaranai Town Panchayat had reduced the lake area, the residents pointed out.


Similarly, Nanmangalam Lake is also in a state of utter neglect. At one point of time, the lake was used as a trash yard by the Nanmangalam panchayat. At present, the lake is overrun with shrubs. “We raised the issue with them and stopped the dumping of garbage. If the lake is deepened and de-silted, it will be an additional water source for the city and the suburban areas. The lake is a natural habitat,” residents pointed out.


The Nalla Eri on MES Road has been encroached by residential homes and is strewn with all types of trash. The water body, which is 30 to 40-feet deep, can help recharge groundwater in Tambaram and surrounding areas. More than 500 houses have been constructed on the lake area, residents said.


The water-body has become highly polluted and the marine habitat completely destroyed. Steps should be taken to restore the lake, protect the flora and fauna, and construct walkers’ footpath and a park around the water body. Bird-watching, boating and fishing activities could also be encouraged, the residents added.


The Irumbuliyur Pond, once a drinking water source, today presents a picture of utter indifference. A dense growth of shrubs and trash strewn around the water body make for a unpleasant sight.


Residents said that at one point of time, people from neighbouring villages used to draw water from the pond in bullock carts. The pond was used by the residents to perform rites and rituals. With construction of storm-water drains, sewage is discharged into the ponds from the houses and the lake area has been taken over by real estate builders.


The Tambaram Municipality should check and remove untreated illegal sewage lines that are connected to the pond, the residents added.