Pulicat lake bar mouth to be dredged

The Fisheries Department has called for tenders to undertake dredging and desilting of the Pulicat lake estuary. This is a temporary solution to remove tonnes of silt that is blocking the movement of seawater into and out of the brackish water lake in Tiruvallur district. Fishermen from villages including Annamalaicheri, Korakuppam, Pasiyavaram, Thoniravu, Madhakuppam, Andikuppam and Kottakuppam depend on the lake for their livelihood.

“This is for temporarily opening the bar mouth using a dredger. For a permanent solution to the frequent closure of the mouth, we have approached the State Level Environment Impact Assessment Authority for necessary clearance. This follows a direction from the Environment Ministry. Meanwhile, the Public Works Department is also mandated to take up continuous maintenance dredging as a flood mitigation strategy,” explained a senior official of the department.

Fishermen, who have been removing silt with the help of an earthmover with their own funds, are demanding that a permanent solution be implemented as fast as possible before the lake dies a natural death due to silt accumulation. Durai Mahendran of Tiruvallur Maavatta Paarambariya Aikiya Meenavar Sangam said that over the past decades, the depth of the lake has come down due to silt. If the barmouth remains closed for a long period, it would only add to that. The mud from the ports is getting washed down to this side leading to a drastic reduction in fish catch, he said.

Jalandran Chettiar of Arangamkuppam said that after having waited for the government to step in, the fishermen had rented an earthmover to get it dredged. “We had no other option, as thousands of our people depend on the lake. It has been running for nearly a month now. But we have stopped it for the past few days since the spot where it was working is getting silted up. Now an earthmover would not be of any use and we need a dredger,” he said.

The Department had commissioned a study by the Department of Ocean Engineering of IIT Madras, which had suggested the construction of training walls on either side of the estuary to prevent it from closing up. The direction and height of the wave and the orientation of the shoreline were studied to fix the alignment of the training walls.

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Printable version | Jun 10, 2021 4:10:02 PM |

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