The drive has helped increase the tank’s capacity by 20 per cent to 50 per cent

The dry, black tank bed in the Big Tank turned into a stage for celebration on Sunday morning, as hundreds of people came together, one last time before monsoon, to join the de-silting efforts. With the permission of the district administration, the Residents Awareness Association of Coimbatore, Siruthuli and a number of organisations had cleaned the Tank on last four Sundays to increase its storage capacity.

The young, the middle aged and old were there in equal measure. While able-bodied men filled earth in tubs, the others who were there passed on the filled-in tubs to dump the earth to strengthen the bunds. Parallel rows of men, women and children would pass on the empty tubs to the men for refill. This exercise continued for two hours from 7 a.m.

They chatted, joked, sang even as they continued to pass on the tubs.

The members of the public were joined by members of the Residents Awareness Association of Coimbatore, Siruthuli, Coimbatore City Police, Central Reserve Police Force, Rapid Action Force, PSG Group of Institutions, Sri Krishna Group of Institutions, Popular Front of India, Indian Chamber of Commerce and Industry, Kannampalayam Panchayat, Home Guards, Air Force Administrative College, ACC, ABT, Mahendra Pumps, Nehru Group of Institutions, Manithaneya Makkal Katchi, CRI Pumps, and a host of other institutions.

Encouraging them were Collector M. Karunagaran, Mayor S.M. Velusamy, Corporation Commissioner G. Latha, Commissioner of Police A.K. Viswanathan, Member of Parliament P.R. Natarajan, C.R. Swaminathan of RAAC, S.V. Balasubramaniam and Vanitha Mohan of Siruthuli, R.R. Balasundaram of the Indian Chamber of Commerce and Industry, Coimbatore, G. Soundararajan of CRI Pumps, and many more.

Actor Prabhu was also there cheering the workers. He later said it would be better if Chennai emulated the work. It was a beginning, a good one, and should continue.

R. Raveendran of RAAC said that Sri Annapoorna hotel group had sponsored food for all those present there. The City Police Commissioner had sent 1,000 of his men to participate in the effort. Vijayalakshmi Trust had sent its machinery and also men.

It was a collective effort that made it possible.

Ms. Mohan of Siruthuli said that in the past few weeks they had managed to remove 1.20 lakh cubic metre earth from 32 hectare on the tank bed. They used the earth to strengthen five-and-a-quarter km bund.

The work had helped increase the Tank’s capacity by 20 per cent to 50 per cent.

Mr. Raveendran added that their next task to clean the inlet channels so that the water that entered the Tank was clean. The sapling planting on the four islands would commence once the rains arrived.

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