The desilting of Tirupananthaal Lake, one of the last surviving water bodies in Pammal Municipality near Tambaram, has begun as part of the local body’s efforts to carry out improvement works in the lake. However, a section of residents living around the lake suspect norms to have been flouted as government staff were not present to supervise the desilting. Officials made it clear they had not violated rules.

The suspicions of residents were strengthened as no mechanism was in place to keep a tab on the number of lorry loads of mud scooped from the lake. The mandatory information display board with details of the desilting work too was not installed, residents pointed out.

Tirupanthaal Lake is nestled amidst thickly populated residential areas in 4 wards of Pammal Municipality and along with the tank of Surya Amman Temple in the vicinity, is the most important source for recharging of ground water to households in these localities. For the past one week, several lorries have been transporting mud scooped out from the dry lakebed. While welcoming the Municipality’s move , residents also wondered if due procedures were followed as otherwise, it would affect revenue flow to the local body, apart from damaging the lake.

Municipal officials said the work was undertaken after a unanimous resolution at the recent municipal meeting. The municipality will be spending about Rs. 3 lakh from its general funds to pay the contractor for scooping out the mud and dumping it in other low-level areas, especially Ward No. 7, where residents have been complaining of the mosquito menace caused by an uncovered sewage pit, C.V. Elangovan, Municipal Chairman, said.

The desilting , being carried out after many years, would not only increase the water retention capacity, but help in recharging of groundwater table during the summer months, Mr. Elangovan added, allaying fears of violation of norms.

A municipal engineer said the mandatory information display board, informing people about the scheme, the transaction of money involved, the number of loads of mud to be transported and the maximum depth permitted for scooping the mud would be put up by Thursday morning.

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