Volunteers work for two hours to clean and deepen the tank to hold larger quantity of rainwater
Young Adhvytha Sre, who will shortly be in Class V, had a memorable Sunday morning. By 7 she was out in the open, joining hundreds of others to happily spend the next two hours.
“I carried empty tubs to be filled with earth,” she said. She was one of the 1,000-odd members of the public who turned up at the Big Tank at Ukkadam for the desilting and cleaning operation the Residents Awareness Association of Coimbatore and Siruthuli had organised.
Her job was carry empty tubs to those who were digging and filling earth. Men and boys would carry the tubs to the earthen mound to build an island within the tank. In doing so, Sre ensured that she was not alone. She had also pulled along her mother G. Renuka Devi.
“Her enthusiasm took me to the voluntary activity,” said Ms. Devi.
The mother-daughter duo came to know of the effort from her participation in the summer camp Siruthuli conducted for children this year.
The young one said that if she were to do so, the tank would be clean and hold more water when the monsoon arrived.
Strengthening Sre's and Ms. Devi's hands were those of the 200 men from the Rapid Action Force.
Commandant J. Rajendran said that as in the past, the RAF men were at the Big Tank to do their bit to ensure that the Tank was clean.
He said that the RAF thought that it wanted to do something to the residents of the city it was a part of.
The men laboured hard in the morning sun to move earth to heighten the mound.
The men from the Central Reserve Police Force were also there.
The residents of Ukkadam, where the Tank is, were not behind.
Led by A. Abdul Jabbar of Coimbatore District United Jama-ath around 50 persons joined the Coimbatore residents' efforts in forming the earthen island.
He said that it could be said that there was a selfish motive to the Jama-ath men joining the effort because they, as Ukkadam residents, would be the first to benefit if the Tank were to hold more water and the groundwater level increase.
K. Mylswami of Siruthuli said that as soon as the volunteers started arriving at the Tank by 7 a.m., they were ready with work.
The men and youth would dig earth and load them in the baskets, which the volunteers, who formed rows, would pass on till they dumped it to form the island. The women and children would return the empty baskets to those digging earth.
R. Raveendran of RAAC said that the city's ‘who's who’ had joined with the office bearers of the RAAC and Siruthuli.
He added that the two organisations would repeat the effort on May 26 as well.