The Southern Bench of the National Green Tribunal (NGT) has directed the Tambaram Corporation and the Water Resources Department (WRD) to remove water hyacinth from the sewage-filled Veeraraghavan Lake in Thiruneermalai within six months.
A petition filed by Solomon Raja, a resident of Chromepet, raised concerns over discharge of untreated sewage into storm-water drains that reach the Veeraraghavan lake causing contamination and pollution. Mr. Raja said the unhygienic state of the lake — surrounded by New Colony, Mummoorthy Nagar on the east, Lakshmipuram on the west, Periya Street on the north and residences of Thirumal Nagar, Selliamman Nagar, and Durga Nagar on the south — causes foul smell and health hazards.
Even though the Tambaram Corporation had provided the residences with an underground sewage system for collection of sewage and sullage, the Tamil Nadu Pollution Control Board (TNPCB), during an inspection, found that the storm-water drain was found carrying the sewage to the lake.
The Tambaram Corporation submitted that 314 households were identified as encroachers and show-cause notices had been issued under the Tamil Nadu Protection of Tanks and Eviction of Encroachment Act, 2007. However, several of them refused to accept the notices stating that they had been residing in the area for over 50 years paying property tax and water tax regularly.
Disposing of the petition on September 11, the Bench ordered the Tambaram Corporation to ensure that the sewage generated from areas under its jurisdiction, including the Durga Nagar and Selliamman Nagar, did not flow into the storm-water drain and the notices issued may be proceeded with and encroachments removed from the lake area.
“While removing the encroachments, the Revenue Divisional Officer, Tahsildar, the police, Tambaram City Corporation, Tamil Nadu Urban Habitat and Development Board and Tangedco should make a joint effort in relocating the encroachers and restoring the lake to its original position and make the same pollution free,” the Bench ordered.