The consultant appointed to prepare the detailed development report for the Pulicat lake and area coming under the four neighbouring panchayats is expected to submit the report soon.

Areas around landmarks including the Dutch cemetery, the bird sanctuary, two temples, a church, two mosques and Fort Geldria would be developed. The consultant has completed the survey of the land and is working on the plan to protect the built and natural heritage and develop additional facilities for tourists.

Apart from the lake, a Portuguese cemetery located in the area would also be developed and maintained. Infrastructure for tourists including rooms, seats, lights and toilet complexes would also come up. “Though the number of tourists would increase to the spot, the lake would 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 as to 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, a running battle between inland and sea-faring fishermen in area wanting jobs in a proposed project to introduce safe boating facilities.

“Even now our people are not agreeing to the fact that inland fishermen may be involved in the boating facility. The four panchayats -- Kottaikuppam, Pazhaverkadu, Thangalperumbalam and Light House Kuppam – in the area have to discuss the modalities and then meet the Tiruvallur District Collector,” said Karunakaran of Light House Kuppam.

The necessity for regulating boating facilities in Pulicat arose after a boat disaster in which over 20 persons belonging to one family died in December last year.

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