Residents in and around Tiruneermalai have urged the government to save the 25-acre Veeraraghavan lake from further contamination and pollution.

“Sewage generated by residential localities in Chromepet and Tiruneermalai town panchayats, in addition to waste discharged by commercial establishments and hospitals along Grand Southern Trunk Road, finds its way into the lake,” said Madhimaran, a carpenter from Durga Nagar.

Some residents have also been dumping waste such as paper, plastic and empty bottles into the lake. “To begin with, steps should be taken to remove water hyacinth and garbage. Flushing out water from the lake will enable deepening and de-silting of the water body,” said M. Dhanapal of TNHB Colony. Residents like him want the lake to be included in the State Government’s list of 66 lakes that will be rejuvenated.

Residents recalled that the Tiruneermalai town panchayat had carried out some improvement work in the lake in 2012. The lake has been left to degrade for three decades despite it serving as an aquifer for wells around it.

“If the government can take up work to strengthen and improve tanks in rural areas for irrigation, why can’t it do the same in the city?” asked social activist V. Santhanam. 

“It is not too late to save our lakes. The government can rope in workers under MGNREGA for the purpose,” he suggested.

Officials at the Directorate of Town Panchayats said the lake was under the jurisdiction of the Panchayat Union, which had to be approached for a ‘No objection’ certificate, before any kind of work could be taken up for improvement of the water body.