Residents of Chitlapakkam and Sembakkam have expressed their satisfaction over an assurance from Animal Husbandry Minister T.K.M. Chinnayya that steps would be taken to protect and preserve Sembakkam Lake, a sprawling water body near Tambaram.
Nestled amidst Sembakkam and Chitlapakkam Town Panchayats and Pallavaram Municipality, the lake once stretched across about 150 acres and according to engineers of the Public Works and Revenue Departments, it has now declined in size owing to encroachments.
The lake, which receives surplus from Chitlapakkam Lake and also other water bodies in Hasthinapuram and Nemilichery during the monsoon, helps in recharging the ground water table in several residential localities in the vicinity.
Various citizens’ groups in Chitlapakkam have been conducting campaigns to protect the water body and other natural resources.
During a recent meeting organised by Sri Sarvamangala Residents Welfare Association, Mr. Chinnayya, who is also the MLA for Tambaram, assured residents that the Kancheepuram District Administration and other agencies of the State government would take efforts to protect and preserve the lake. In the past, residents of Sarvamangala Nagar had gathered together and prevented the movement of vehicles that were proceeding to dump garbage inside the water spread area of the lake. They also succeeded in thwarting attempts made by land grabbers to usurp a portion of the lake.
Residents pointed out that a considerable expanse to the south of the lake was used by Sembakkam Town Panchayat as a garbage dumping yard and a shed for converting kitchen waste into manure through the process of organic composting.
According to residents of Sarvamangala Nagar, in 2005, the Estimates Committee of the Tamil Nadu Assembly had recommended that the Public Works Department conduct improvement works in the lake with financial assistance from National Bank for Agriculture and Rural Development. In its report, the committee had also expressed its displeasure over the water body being conveniently converted into a dumping yard. Office-bearers of the association, submitted a petition listing their demands for protecting the lake from further decay to the Minister.