Staff Reporter

Large-scale encroachments turning them into dumping ground

CHENNAI: Exnora International has urged the State Government to reconstruct the Radial Road between Pallavaram and Thoraipakkam at the points where it runs over water bodies.

In a letter to Chief Minister Jayalalithaa on January 22, Exnora founder M.B. Nirmal said the radial road cutting through Pallavaram periya eri, Keelkatalai lake and Narayanapuram lake rendered the water bodies "thoroughly useless". This was because the catchment and a part of the water spread area of the lakes lay on one side while the sluice and surplus storage area lay on the other. This had led to the drying up of parts of the lakes. Encroachments cropped up on a large scale and the lakes turned into dumping yards.

Exnora has asked the Highways department to remove the stretches of road cutting through the lakes and reconstructing the road over pillars on the lakes. This would allow free flow of water under the road.

"Though this action will involve money, the Government will give rebirth and life to lakes," Mr. Nirmal said in a press release. Further, water stored in the lakes will meet the demands of the residents in Southern and Western Chennai.

The original spread of the Pallavaram lake was 125 acres, Kizhkattalai 130 acres and Narayanapuram lake 19 acres but now the spread is only 50 acres, 55.5 acres and 15 acres respectively, he added.

Discussion forum

An interaction forum was launched by the Chennai Press Club and Exnora on Friday.

At the first meeting, members of the Tamil Nadu Water Bodies Exnora put forth ideas on the importance of media coverage of dying lakes and rivers.

They also urged the State Government to protect water bodies Kancheepuram and Tiruvallur that could provide drinking water for Chennai.

V.E. Subramaniam, president of Water Bodies Exnora, called for a check dam on the Palar river to store surplus water during the monsoon.

V. Rama Rao of Nanganallur said that a 'Lakes Authority' should be set up to govern the protection and maintenance of water bodies.

Some members shared success stories on the renovation of tanks through community efforts. R. Thandavan, head of the Anna Centre for Public Affairs, also participated.