Chennai: Porur lake in pitiable state

Lakebed contaminated with sewage and garbage from neighbouring localities

CHENNAI: The Porur lake presents a pristine look on the side facing Mount Poonamallee Road. However, the other portions of the water body are abused owing to lack of attention.

Vacant lands adjoining the lake bund on the Porur-Kundrathur High Road have been turned into sewage cesspools and garbage dumps. The lakebed is contaminated with the release of sewage and garbage from neighbouring localities. Stray pigs and cattle often rest on the lakebed.

Awaiting attention: A view of the Porur lake. — Photo: S.S.Kumar

Besides serving as a resource of groundwater recharge for the neighbouring localities, the lake, through its infiltration wells, supplies two million litres a day for parts of the city by the Chennai Metrowater.

A. Narayanan, activist and convener of People Against Alcohol, Drug Abuse and Merchandise, said the waterbody was covered with overgrown vegetation. Trucks from nearby places, including Madanandapuram, Porur and Moulivakkam, released sewage into the lakebed and open spaces adjoining the water body.

As the area lacked a public convenience facility, the lake bund was used as an open toilet. Though the residents who had encroached upon the lake bed were evicted two years ago, action was yet to be taken to protect the water body.

Mr. Narayanan suggested that the area around the lake be fenced to avoid misuse and saplings planted to strengthen the bund.

V. Guna, a resident of Moulivakkam, said the debris that was left behind after the eviction drive had not been removed. Many households and industrial units in areas, including Rajalakshmi Nagar and Bhel Nagar, let out their sewage.

Residents demanded that encroachments along the small canals, including the one at Bharanipudur, linked to the lake, be removed. Small parks with walking tracks could be provided on open spaces.

S. Arunachalam, president of the Porur panchayat, said the local body seized trucks found releasing sewage or dumping garbage into or near the lake. Problems would reduce if the panchayats surrounding the water body were provided garbage dumps for solid waste management.

Officials of the Water Resources Department said the lake, spread over 250 acres, was cleared of aquatic weeds and its bund strengthened at a cost of Rs.3 lakh recently. The department proposed to take up restoration works on the lake, including desilting, fencing around lake bund and widening of canals, under a Central scheme.

A project to widen the 6-km channel carrying excess water from the lake to the Adyar through Manapakkam had been sanctioned under the Jawaharlal Nehru National Urban Renewal Mission.

The Rs.19.6-crore project would also have culverts and small bridges constructed following tendering process in a few months.

K. Lakshmi – From THE HINDU

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