The Paalkeni temple tank in Pallavaram, has been awaiting restoration work for many years now.
The tank has only one embankment constructed a few years ago, while its other three sides remain precariously open. Last week, a 16-year-old boy drowned in the tank, when he took a swim there with his friends.
In 2008, the Pallavaram municipality had planned to renovate the tank, and officials had then said they may receive Rs. 10 lakh to fund this project. But only one embankment was constructed, and no other work was completed, said S.L. Rangadurai, a resident of the area for the last thirty years.
“The then collector visited this site two years ago and promised to begin restoration work at the earliest. They proposed landscaping and desilting work, but they haven’t even finished the construction of the embankments. We have made several representations to the municipality on the issue but no action has been taken as yet,” he said.
Water from the tank, which was used for household purposes until some years ago, has now been polluted with the dumping of garbage and sewage inflow, into the tank over the years, he added.
D.S. Sivasamy, president of Confederation of Organisations of Integrated Urban Development and a resident of Pallavaram, said that though the Rs. 10 lakh was given for the construction of embankments all around the tank, officials indicated that the completion of one side had taken up all money.
“It is worthless to spend Rs. 10 lakh to construct an embankment on one side alone. When I wrote to the concerned officials, I received a response saying that more funds were needed to complete this project. The tank is about 12 feet deep and needs to be safeguarded to prevent any more deaths,” he added.
Municipality officials said that at present, they didn’t have a proposal to restore the tank, owing to a lack of funds. “The government has to allocate money from the general or MLA fund to finish the project. Right now, we don’t have any plans to carry out work on the tank. It may happen later if we get the funds,” said an official.