Chennai

Panchayat officials begin transferring waste out of Chitlapakkam lake

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After years of protests and a stream of petitions, residents of Chitlapakkam seem to have found a glimmer of hope. The mounds of garbage on the Chitlapakkam lake are being cleared.

“This is a first step towards reclaiming the Chitlapakkam lake. The lake which spread over 100 acres has now shrunk to just 50, thanks to uncontrolled encroachments and garbage disposal. The dumping ground alone took up 3.5 acres of space,” said Sunil Jayaram, a resident of Chitlapakkam.

On October 2, the residents had held a candlelight vigil and a signature campaign at the lake calling for a flood-readiness plan for Chitlapakkam, which included desilting of the lake and recovery, construction of cut and cover drains.

“We started our fight more than two years ago. We are happy that the garbage is finally moving out of the lakebed. However, the lake needs to be permanently protected from encroachments, sewage discharge and garbage disposal,” said Perulli Viswanathan, another resident.

As the next course of action, the residents are looking to force the government departments to plug the sewage inlets and desilt the lake. The panchayat authorities have also pressed an earthmover to remove water hyacinth from the lake.

According to the executive officer of the Chitlapakkam panchayat, Venkatesh, the entire waste from the landfill is expected to be cleared in about two weeks. “Ten trucks have been transporting the waste every day from the landfill and we have sought more trucks on contract. The work also depends on weather conditions. We had originally planned to start clearing the waste last week but because of the rain, we could start only on Wednesday,” he said. The waste, he said, is being transferred to a facility in Kolathur. This facility is in the process of being converted into a scientific landfill. Asked about the project cost, he said it was too early to arrive at a figure. “There are 30-years worth of garbage to be cleared. We can weigh the waste only after the entire dumping ground is cleared,” he said.

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Printable version | Jan 20, 2021 7:35:11 AM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/cities/chennai/panchayat-officials-begin-transferring-waste-out-of-chitlapakkam-lake/article25204103.ece

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