Chennai: Small waterbodies in southern suburbs remain neglected

Plastic, garden and kitchen waste dumped on them

The ‘malaikuttai’ in Zamin Raayapettai in Chromepet is a waterbody that presents a pathetic sight

TAMBARAM: It is not just the huge and sprawling lakes in the southern suburbs of Chennai that are crying for attention from the State government agencies and urban and rural local bodies.

IN NEED OF ATTENTION: Small waterbodies such as ‘malaikuttai’ in Zamin Raayapettai could contribute significantly to the water table if maintained properly.— Photo: A.Muralitharan

Even small waterbodies that could be of immense benefit in conserving precious rainwater have been completely ignored. In addition to the 300 lakes in Tambaram taluk, the southern suburbs are dotted with small tanks (‘kulam’) and ponds (‘kuttai’). While a few of them have been revived because of the intervention of environmentalists, most other small waterbodies of temples, those created in abandoned quarries and natural ponds nestled in the midst of residential localities remain neglected.

The ‘malaikuttai’ in Zamin Raayapettai in Chromepet, Pallavaram Municipality, for instance, is a waterbody that presents a pathetic sight. It has an expanse of less than one acre and residents said it was formed several years ago in an abandoned quarry site. The rocky surface ensured that perennial springs continuously fed the waterbody. Though it was not a direct source to draw water, it ensured that the water table in this part of Zamin Raayapettai was always maintained.

Today, a blanket of plastic, garden and kitchen waste, besides others forms of refuse, can be seen over the water surface. Even huge chunks of chopped-down trees have been dumped on the waterbody, making it a receptacle of filth.

Krishna Giri, a resident of Radha Nagar, complained that there was no positive response from the government agencies concerned. Citing reports and announcements that several hundred crore rupees were being spent on water supply improvement and cement concrete road-laying projects in the local bodies around Chennai, she wondered why a few lakh rupees could not be spent in protecting waterbodies such as the ‘malaikuttai.’

Pallavaram Municipal Chairman E.Karunanidhi said they were preparing a scheme for carrying out improvement works on the pond and they would begin by constructing a compound wall around it. There were also proposals to build a ground level service reservoir (underground sump) to store Palar drinking water when they expand the distribution system. However, a decision would be made later, Mr. Karunanidhi said, adding the municipal administration would protect the waterbody.


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