The pollution-marred scenic beauty of Pulicat Lake is set to get a facelift. Areas around landmarks in the area, including the Dutch cemetery, the bird sanctuary, two temples, a church, two mosques and Fort Geldria, will be developed to attract more tourists.

The consultant appointed to prepare a detailed development report for Pulicat Lake and areas under the four neighbouring panchayats is expected to submit its findings soon. The consultant has completed the survey of the land and is working on a plan to protect the built and natural heritage and develop additional facilities for tourists.

Also in the spotlight is a Portuguese cemetery that will be developed and maintained. Infrastructure for tourists, including rooms, seats, lights and toilet complexes would also come up. “Though the number of tourists visiting the spot will increase, the lake will be protected,” said a source. The foundation of the fort has been located and a heritage park is likely to come up around it.

Pulicat was one of the reasons why Chennai was created. It was a flourishing trading port during the time of the Dutch, who came there in 1607. According to historian V. Sriram, before the Dutch, the Portuguese had a colony there from 1522. “They were not recognised by the Portuguese in Goa and were called Chatinn. They had come in search of better fortunes for themselves,” he said.

Local fishermen are also likely to be involved in the development project. There is however, an ongoing feud between inland and sea-faring fishermen in the area over jobs in a proposed project to introduce safe boating facilities.

“Our people are not open to the possibility of inland fishermen being involved in the boating facility. The four panchayats in the area have to discuss the modalities and then meet Tiruvallur District Collector,” said Karunakaran of Light House Kuppam.

The necessity for regulating boating in Pulicat rose after a boat accident in which over 20 people belonging to one family died in December last year.

Keywords: Pulicat Lake

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