Chennai: The long-pending request of residents and welfare associations to clean the Chitlapakkam Eri at Tambaram in the city suburb is finally being addressed.
The Water Resource Department (WRD) has taken up the work to complete the work within a month. Earthmover machine is deployed to remove the hyacinth and other waste, said an Executive Engineer of WRD which comes under the Public Works Department.
“The work is initiated as a measure for flood precaution with monsoon ahead and also to control the breeding of mosquitoes,” said the official, who is in-charge of the project. Apart from hycanith, the contamination of water has also worried residents.
Though the sewage lines of some streets are connected to the underground drains, several other street pipes are directly let into the lake, contaminating the water.
“Effluents and sewage are released into several sections of the lake. Lack of significant initiatives by the PWD to prevent this has only made the water body get worse,” said the residents.
They have requested that the sewage be diverted to the Tambaram Municipality instead of entering the Chitlapakkam lake or at least treat the sewage before it enters the lake.
“The lake was about 86 acres till recently and encroachment has reduced it to about 46 acres. Bushy plants and plastic waste cover the entire water body. One cannot get even a glimpse of the water from the bund,” said Udaya, a resident of Chitlapakkam.
He also recollected that for about two decades, the Chitlapakkam lake was the main source of irrigation for the vast surrounding farmlands; but due to human error, it is not so anymore. Increasing the water storage capacity by deepening the lake will help improve the ground water table, he said.
This would be ideal, especially during summer, when groundwater depletes, the eri water can help recharge wells and borewells in the vicinity, he said.
The WRD has asked the Tahsildar to survey the boundaries and extent of the lake and provide a detailed list of encroachers. The lake would also be desilted on receiving government funds and orders, an official said.
“We are happy to finally see some progress in conserving the lake. We hope these works will continued till the lake is completely treated,” said members of Chitlapakkam Rising.