Works such as desilting, deepening and construction of a wall will begin in a month

For over a decade now, Thangal lake in Vijayalakshmipuram, Ambattur, is waiting to be rejuvenated. Though the project to give new lease of life to the lake was started two years ago, it has been left incomplete.

Residents of Vijayalakshmipuram have been grappling with the issues of sewage being let into the lake that led to groundwater pollution in the area for several years now. Spread over six acres, the water body, which was once used for cultivation, was reduced to a sullage pit as sewage was released into it through open storm water drains.

Thangal lake shares similar woes of many other water bodies in the locality, including those at Ambattur and Korattur. Residents of Vijayalakshmipuram recall that fencing around the lake was completed in 2010 when the Ambattur was a municipality and it put an end to the problem but only temporarily.

After the Municipality was merged with the Chennai Corporation, there has been a slump in the progress of the project. Though the corporation envisaged developing the lake area into a recreational space with a park comprising 10 feet wide walkers’ path and children play area, there has not been much progress.

Due to this and the lack of underground drainage network in the Ambattur zone, residents say that the problem of sewage seeping into the lake has also started. S.Ravi, a resident said “We have been fighting to conserve the lake for several years now. The officials of the Municipality had laid a pipeline to divert the sewage entering into the lake. This effort had improved the groundwater quality, which was polluted and unusable, substantially. But, if the project remains incomplete, it will only lead to further degradation of the water body.”

Though it was a welcome initiative of the Corporation to allocate funds to improve the project, residents say that the civic body must ensure that the project be expedited.

As the drainage pipeline laid to divert sewage from the lake is of inadequate capacity, the sewage gets choked and is seeping into the lake. Residents said that manpower shortage and delay in floating tenders were cited to be the reasons to execute the work. B.R.Prasad, another resident, said that the lake lacks an outlet to carry surplus water from the lake and the area faces threat of inundation during monsoon. Moreover, the authorities of the civic body are laying road on the east side of the water body without a culvert. “The lake has water even during summer. If the project to desilt the water body is finished, it would serve as a groundwater recharge to the locality and benefit residents who are largely dependent on groundwater for water needs,” he said.

Elected representatives and officials of the civic body said that the project worth Rs.55 lakh would begin in a month to improve the lake. The work will include desilting, deepening and construction of a compound wall around the lake, footpath and construction of diversion drains.

Ward 80 councillor G.R.Srinivasan said that besides children’s play area, there are plans to construct open air theatre and a tennis court around the lake. The work is set to be completed by six months.

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