After a long struggle, the Coimbatore Corporation got on Thursday the physical custody of eight tanks. This was in the form of Executive Engineer of Public Works Department (Water Resources Organisation), Bhavanisagar Dam Division, A. Venkatachalam handing over documents relating to the tanks to Executive Engineer of the Jawaharlal Nehru National Urban Renewal Mission (JNNURM) wing in the Corporation A. Lakshmanan.
Mayor R. Venkatachalam, Corporation Commissioner Anshul Mishra, Deputy Mayor N. Karthik, councillors and officials of the Corporation and Public Works Department (PWD) were present. The tanks are: Big Tank (Ukkadam), Valankulam, Singanallur Tank, Muthanankulam, Selvachinthamani Tank, Selvampathy Tank, Narasampathy Tank and Krishnampathy Tank.
Now, the Corporation would maintain the tanks for 90 years by paying a lease rent of Rs.100 a year. “We are taking over the tanks in order to raise the ground water level in the city,” the Mayor said.
The Corporation had been trying to get the custody of the tanks in order to rejuvenate them at Rs.127 crore under the mission. The civic body’s Council passed a resolution on December 24, 2008, appealing for the custody of the tanks. The Corporation wanted to de-silt the tanks, strengthen the bunds, beautify the surroundings and turn them into even recreation centres.
Action for Food Production, a Bangalore-based consultant, carried out a survey of the tanks and submitted a detailed project report to the Corporation for the rejuvenation. “The project report will be sent to the State Government for scrutiny and clearance and then to be forwarded to the Central Government for its approval,” Mr. Mishra said.
A press release issued by the JNNURM wing in the Corporation said that one of the objectives was to generate revenue from the parks or other recreational centres near the tanks in order to meet the civic body’s 30 per cent share in funding the project.
“Now that the tanks are in our custody, we will work out measures to prevent the discharge of drainage or the dumping of garbage and debris into the water bodies,” the Commissioner said. “It is the responsibility of the local body to maintain the tanks and keep these free of pollution so that the ground water is not affected,” he said.
“Apart from maintaining these as key water resources, the tanks and their surroundings will also be turned into recreation centres. This will help in beautifying the city,” he said.
The Mayor said walkers’ tracks would also be laid so that the periphery of the tanks could be used as fitness zones.