While water hyacinth covers Chitlapakkam lake, encroachments endanger Seekkanan lake

Two prominent lakes in the city’s southern suburbs around Tambaram are desperately in need of revitalisation. While water hyacinth endangers Chitlapakkam lake, it is encroachments that pose a threat to Seekkanan lake, Mudichur.

The presence of vast sheets of water hyacinth has been hampering improvement works on the sprawling Chitlapakkam lake. The uninterrupted discharge of sewage into the lake only encourages this unwanted vegetation, residents said.

The Public Works Department’s efforts to beautify Chitlapakkam at an estimated cost of Rs. 45 lakh have been on for many months but results are yet to show.

“A few months ago, our students took up a project on this waterbody,” said G. Rani, principal of S.D.N.B. Vaishnav College for Women, Chromepet.

“The amount of total dissolved solids was high and dissolved oxygen was above 4 mg/l. However desilting should reduce the amount of highly-loaded sewage deposit,” she added.

Chitlapakkam town panchayat president R. Mohan said the project was being carried out under ‘Namakku Naame Thittam’ (self sufficiency scheme). He added the town panchayat would coordinate with PWD in desilting this lake. The lake that originally extended over 75 acres has now shrunk to about 50 acres.

In Mudichur, residents are worried that construction on the Outer Ring Road (ORR) that passes close to the Seekkanan eri has done enough damage to the water body. Now, many real estate agents have begun fencing portions of the eri land.

Farmers in the locality expressed their suspicions that a few individuals were trying to usurp the property.

They claimed that the Mudichur village panchayat was kept in the dark about the progress of the road construction project and subsequent land usage by various government departments.

They also sought to know if the St. Thomas Mount Panchayat Union was aware of land grabbing efforts. Residents hope the district administration will look into allegations of damage to the water body and protect the remaining portion of Seekkanan lake.

According to residents, the lake is spread over 10.32 hectares. Meanwhile, revenue officials have cautioned residents not to enter into any deals with those trying to sell eri land for cheap prices.