Encroachments and dumping of garbage choke water body

All that remains of the only water body in Ramapuram is a swamp surrounded by encroachments.

The lake that was once a source of fresh water to residents of Ramapuram now presents a picture of neglect. Ramapuram is located close to Porur and Valasaravakkam.

Like many other water bodies in the fringes of the city, the Ramapuram lake too is a dumping yard as tons of sewage are released into it. Meanwhile, the cluster of structures that have risen all around the lake and eaten into much of its water spread have made it almost impossible to identify the lake.

While various government departments feud over the maintenance of the water body in the locality that was only recently merged into the Chennai Corporation, residents are worried that the lake may soon disappear. They pointed out that the water body which once extended over 27 acres has shrunk to less than ten.

S. Murugan, secretary of Thiruvalluvar Welfare Association, said that of the small expanse of the lake, half is covered with water hyacinth. “Several years ago, a few acres of land were allotted to homeless people adjacent the lake. Now, several commercial establishments have encroached the lake area,” he said.

The association members had submitted petitions to various government agencies, including water resources department, Chennai Corporation and Ambattur taluk office. “We are still not clear who to approach as the government agencies thrust the responsibility on others,” said Mr.Murugan.

While Corporation, on the receipt of a report from the Ambattur taluk offfice, had assured the encroachments would removed, no action has been taken and the water body continues to decline.

N. Govarthanan, a resident of Natesan Nagar, recalled that residents depended on the lake for drinking and irrigation till 1980s. The water level in our area has dipped below 50 feet and it is not fit to drink anymore, he said.

As it is the only source of groundwater recharge, residents want the government to secure the remaining portion of the lake and prevent further encroachment.

Officials of the water resources department said that the water body was the responsibility of the civic body as only those with area above 100 acres came under the control of the department.

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