Project for water bodies in Ambattur, Korattur and Madhavaram delayed
The wait for rejuvenation of three water bodies in Ambattur, Korattur and Madhavaram is set to get longer, as the Water Resources Department (WRD) only plans to take up the project under the second phase of the Jawaharlal Nehru National Urban Renewal Mission (JNNURM).
While measures are on to improve lakes in Porur and Nemam, the WRD has slowed down on the JNNURM project owing to unchecked pollution and encroachments. According to sources in the department, unless illegal discharge of sewage into the lakes is arrested, desilting and improvement work would not be of much use.
Korattur lake, spread over 996 acres, is one of the largest water bodies in the Ambattur circle. However, it has for long been neglected and abused, with release of industrial effluents and raw sewage from surrounding areas including Pattaravakkam, Athipet and Ambattur.
M. Elangovan, a resident of Korattur Agraharam, said groundwater in the area has been polluted in the past six months owing to continuous release of raw sewage into the Korattur lake.
“I live about half a kilometre from the lake. I am unable to use water from the well, as it has turned murky. Some of the residents have shifted from the area due to this problem. I buy a pot of water for Rs. 5-7 and also from private tankers as the water supply is erratic,” he said.
Residents recalled that they were able to use water from the lake for drinking around 15 years ago.
Hari Subramaniam, a resident of Ambattur said that some of the industrial units continue to release their effluents into the lakes. If the water bodies were restored, they would serve as drinking water sources for surrounding localities.
At present, steps are being taken to improve surplus courses of Ambattur and Madhavaram under the first phase of JNNURM.
Officials of the WRD said that strengthening the sewerage network must be given priority in these localities to prevent entry of raw sewage and industrial effluents into the lakes.
“We are planning to discuss with Chennai Metrowater about building adequate sewage pumping stations and treatment plants to stop the discharge of sewage and pollution in the water bodies,” said an official.
Sources in Metrowater said that Ambattur and Madhavaram zones would be completely covered with a sewerage network by early next year, after which pollution into the lakes would be arrested.
Meanwhile, a detailed project report is being prepared for the second phase of JNNURM. However, officials said it would take at least eight months for the project to be implemented.