For long, farmers and residents of Mudichur have been worried of the impact of the construction of the Outer Ring Road on water bodies in the area. The latest spell of rains, it would seem, has confirmed their fears.
The heavy showers that lashed Tambaram and surrounding areas last week were not of any help to the Mudichur ‘periya eri’ and Seekkanan Lake, residents said. They said that the rain water that usually drained into two the sprawling lakes was diverted due to the obstructions caused by work on ORR.
Mudichur residents recalled that once the massive Vandalur ‘periya eri’ spread over 200 acres would get filled up during the monsoon, the surplus water would flow through a meandering channel and drain into the Mudichur ‘periya eri’ which is spread over 110 acres. Surplus water would then fill the 25-acre Seekkanan Lake and six tanks and ponds in Mudichur.
This system replenished the groundwater resources of not only Mudichur, but also neighbouring Varadarajapuram and localities in Perungalathur Town Panchayat and Tambaram Municipality.
“However, none of the lakes benefitted during the rains. Ever since the construction of ORR began, we were afraid the lakes would be affected. I wonder if the Environmental Assessment Impact study before the project considered the protection of water bodies,” said L. Balu of Madanapuram.
The construction work has already eaten into a portion of the two water bodies and cutting off the natural inlet channels would have a long term impact. “The water spread area would come down resulting in a dip in ground water table,” said C. Shankaran, a resident.
Residents said that construction of similar projects in the southern suburbs such as Pallavaram – Thoraipakkam Radial Road or Southern Sector of Inner Ring Road had irreversibly damaged water bodies. In the case of the Radial Road, the Pallavaram periya eri had been cut into two parts.
The ORR is a 62-kilometre long project of the State government being carried out at a cost of over Rs. 2,000 crore.
It connects GST Road in Vandalur and Minjur after crossing National Highways 4 and 205. It is 400 feet wide from end to end with a space of 22 metres reserved in the middle for developing a mass rapid transit system in the future. Officials at Tamil Nadu Road Development Transport Corporation could not be contacted for their response.