Residents were hoping for a fast-track renovation of this park. Disappointed, they are now turning away from it, writes D. Madhavan
Until two years ago, 66-year-old K. Santhanam took his grandson regularly to the Mangal Eri park, also known as Arignar Anna Park, on Vellar Street in Mogappair West.
Now, he stops with taking a walk with the little boy on Vellar Street.
This has been the standard reaction of residents to the blight that has overtaken the lake. They keep away from it.
Tucked between Ambattur Estate Road and West Mogappair Road, the park has been serving the purpose of groundwater recharging in the neighbourhood for decades.
“The renovated park was good initially, but poor maintenance by the civic body has allowed it to slip into its present state,” said K.Sarawathi, a resident.
Spread over more than 5.32 acres, the lake was renovated in 2009, after decades of neglect, at a cost of Rs 60 lakh by the then Ambattur municipality.
As part of this work, encroachments were removed from the lake bed. A compound wall was built around it.
A tiled walkers’ track –
4.5 metres wide and 520 metres long – was also built.
The lake-cum-park was better illuminated too.
Release of sewage into the lake was also stopped by civic officials.
Going by its present condition, all that good work seems to have been in vain.
Anti-skid tiles are broken at many spots of the park.
'Thick bushes around the walker’s path and between the cement concrete seats raise the fear of snakes.
“A few days ago, my son saw a snake prodding its head through the bushes.
Ever since, we have stopped visiting the park,” said K. Sankararaman, a resident.
Most of the trees and plants there are dry even after the motor pump set got repaired.
The lake too is nearly dry.
There are no barbed wires around the lake to prevent children from falling into it.
To add to this, the high tension electric transformer inside the park poses a danger to visitors.
“Efforts will be taken soon to renovate the park with additional facilities,” said a Corporation official.
Keywords: Mangal Eri park