There is a ray of hope for Veeraraghavan Lake, one of the most contaminated water bodies around Tambaram. Tiruneermalai Town Panchayat has proposed to carry out some basic improvement work in the lake. The move to clean up this water-body is reported to be the first in three decades.

The lake is currently spread over 25 acres and is under the maintenance of the St. Thomas Mount Panchayat Union.

Sewage generated from residential localities in Chromepet, Chitlapakkam and Tiruneermalai Town Panchayats, in addition to contaminated water from commercial establishments and private and government hospitals along Grand Southern Trunk Road, finds its way into the lake, according to an engineer of the Public Works Department of Kancheepuram district. With residents in the immediate vicinity throwing waste in the lake, especially paper and plastic waste including empty bottles, the water body resembles a floating mass of dirt.

According to staff at the Commissionerate of Town Panchayats, this has had a direct impact on the quality of groundwater in wells around the lake. “There have been demands from many quarters to carry out improvement work in the lake and also to make an attempt to restore the quality of the water. As the lake is under the control of the Panchayat Union, we were unable to do anything for a long time,” said Kalaivani Kamaraj, Chairman of Tiruneermalai Town Panchayat.

During a routine meeting of the elected council, a resolution was passed to carry out improvement work and they approached the Panchayat Union, and its elected council granted permission and a ‘No Objection Certificate’ was given, Ms. Kamaraj said.

Rs. 12 lakh from the general funds of the town panchayat has now been set aside for the improvement work.

To begin with, steps would be taken to remove water hyacinths and garbage. Flushing out water from the lake to enable deepening and desilting of the water body is also being considered. Strengthening the lake bunds and creating a walkers’ pathway are other initiatives being planned, Ms. Kamaraj added.

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