Shops, eateries dump waste into Pallavaram pond

A pond which was a precious source of pristine water to Pallavaram residents for more than two centuries has now been reduced to nothing more than a cesspool. Its size has reduced so much that it looks nothing bigger than a puddle today.

The pond, according to residents living near Pallavaram railway station, is part of ‘Irusandi Suppan Chetty Chathiram’ a structure that is more than two centuries old. Travellers used to halt here in the night.

Further, those performing final rites for the departed would complete their rituals and take a dip in the pond, according to S.P. Gandhi, president, Pallavaram Small Merchants Association.

Even a few decades ago, the water in the pond was crystal clear and pure, according to old-timers.

But rapid urbanisation has taken a toll on the water body. The pond was once spread across eight acres, but today, not a fourth of it remains.

The existing patch appears as a dense overgrowth of vegetation. Shops and commercial complexes have come up around the pond. Discharge of sewage and effluents from these establishments has caused irreparable damage to the water body, Mr. Gandhi says.

P. Dhan Singh, Pallavaram MLA and former municipal chairman, says it was during his tenure that certain improvement works were carried out on the pond, after many years. Plans are now afoot to take up more development works and steps would be initiated after an inspection by officials of the revenue department, including Kancheepuram district collector, he says.

Residents of Pallavaram point to the policy note of the department of municipal administration and water supply for the year 2012-2013. It says that projects such as underground drainage network works, among others, have been planned to prevent open defecation and protection of water resources from pollution.

One wonders if the department is serious about its plans, considering many water bodies, such as this pond in Pallavaram, dot several urban and rural local bodies in the southern suburbs of Chennai.

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