Chennai

Chitlapakkam Rising asked to spearhead efforts to restore lake

It has received a go-ahead from the Water Resources Department

Over the last three years, Chitlapakkam Rising has been in the vanguard of efforts to draw attention to the condition of the Chitlapakkam lake, frequently conducting campaigns to press for the restoration of the waterbody.

It has also been conducting Sunday clean-ups at Chitlapakkam, mobilising residents of the locality.

In what can be seen as a boost to these efforts by the residents-driven voluntary group, it has received the go-ahead from the Water Resources Department (WRD) of the Public Works Department (PWD) to drive initiatives to restore the waterbody.

In an order dated May 29, 2019, the executive engineer, WRD, Lower Palar Basin Division, Kancheepuram, has granted permission for desilting the Chitlapakkam and strengthening its bunds.

“We will form a Chitlapakkam Lake Protection Committee with the participation of environmental NGOs and residents welfare associations to devise short and long-term plans to desilt the lake using scientific and eco-friendly methods, increase its storage capacity and strengthen the bunds. A long task is ahead of us but we are confident of doing it together,” says Sunil Jayaram, one of the founders of Chitlapakkam Rising.

The WRD has fixed September 15 as deadline.

Sunil says Chitlapakkam Rising is in talks with environmental NGOs, local body authorities, elected representatives and corporates about the project plan, manpower and machinery requirement, funding and a time frame to desilt the lake.

Chitlapakkam is facing one of the worst cases of water scarcity in decades. “Borewells that are 300 and 400 feet deep have gone completely dry and private suppliers are unable to meet the enormous demand. Water, which is a basic amenity, has become an expensive commodity only because waterbodies have been neglected for decades. Chitlapakkam Lake has not been desilted in 30 years. Landfills, encroachments and discharge of sewage have contaminated the lake,” says Sunil.

Lakshmi Krishnakumar, a member and volunteer of Chitlapakkam Rising, says this should have been WRD’s project but the residents couldn’t wait any longer as the water level in the lake as well as the groundwater in the locality has dipped drastically.

“We were told that the WRD would begin the restoration work only by 2021, but that would be a long wait. Though it may take a few years for the lake to be filled with clean water, this is the right time to start. We are confident of completing the project within the deadline,” she says.

Udayavani Dayanand, another member-volunteer, says the main source of contamination in the lake is the discharge of untreated sewage by the Tambaram Municipality.

“The Tambaram Municipality has agreed to stop dumping waste in the lake. The team will continue to monitor the sewage inflow because if this doesn’t stop then our efforts will prove futile.”

You can pitch in

Do you want to do your bit to save the lake?

Chitlapakkam Rising will formally launch the clean-up project today at 7 a.m. with the participation of residents, NGOs, municipal authorities and people in public life.

You can join hands with them to give the lake a fresh lease

of life.

For more details about the clean-up, you may contact any of the following members: Lakshmi -90947 83445, Bala Chandar - 99520 61020, Baskar - 99400 62682 and Govindaraj - 86080 00616.

Individuals or companies willing to make financial contributions towards the project can contact Sunil Jayaram at 95001 22151.

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Printable version | Feb 20, 2020 2:07:14 AM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/cities/chennai/chitlapakkam-rising-asked-to-spearhead-efforts-to-restore-lake/article27400216.ece

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