Storage capacity of tanks should be enhanced: former engineer

In 2012, when boating facility was introduced at the Naganankulam tank, residents of the city were excited hoping to have some recreation and entertainment.

Sadly, the facility was withdrawn less than six months after its introduction, leaving the residents disappointed.

Consistent efforts made by the district administration and tourism department to introduce permanent boating facility at several waterbodies in Madurai remain futile.

Former Collectors S.S. Jawahar and U. Sagayam had submitted proposals to the State government to set up a park and introduce boating in the Vandiyur lake. According to officials in the tourism department, the proposals never materialised.

The officials said that one of the reasons the facility at Naganakulam tank had to be withdrawn was that the tank could not store adequate water. “The tourism department had acquired three boats from Ooty boat house and the people of Madurai did patronise the venture. But the climatic condition of the city did not permit storage of water in the tank,” said an official of the tourism department.

“Because of the failure at Naganakulam tank, we need to think about a lot of factors before implementing them in other places. An attempt to introduce boating at Saravana Poigai much before in Naganankulam tank also ended in failure. Lack of adequate rainfall has made it impossible for us to contemplate introducing boating”, the official said.

However, N. Arunachalam, former Chief Engineer of the Public Works Department, claimed that the storage capacity of the tanks could be enhanced to implement boating by uprooting the seema karuvelam trees, removing the shoals and desilting the waterbodies.

The Federation for Vandiyur Tank Water Development (FVTWD) welcomed the idea of promoting eco-friendly tourism in the waterbodies in Madurai by setting up parks, but are opposed to introducing boating. “There is no water in any of the waterbodies. Efforts should be taken to recharge ground water and convert the irrigation tanks to drinking water storage points. Introducing boating will only affect the quality of the water further,” said Sheikh Dawood, president of FVTWD.

Collector L. Subramanian told The Hindu the proposal to introduce boating in the Vandiyur lake is yet to be cleared by the State.

“There is no water in the lake and the immediate concern of the district administration is to ensure storage of water for drinking purposes,” he said, ruling out the possibility of introducing boating facility in the city in the near future.

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