Soon, 57 lakes to be cleared of encroachments

Survey will be complete in Jan., to be followed by demolitions

Published - December 14, 2018 01:14 am IST - CHENNAI

Many of the city’s waterbodies have shrunk, the study shows.

Many of the city’s waterbodies have shrunk, the study shows.

Survey of houses and commercial establishments constructed illegally along 57 lakes in the city will be completed in January, kick-starting a major demolition drive in various residential and commercial neighbourhoods. Chennai Corporation will then improve storage capacity and water quality in the 57 waterbodies. The work order for preparation of a detailed project report (DPR) has been issued by the Corporation to Tamil Nadu Water Investment Company (TWIC).

At a coordination meeting held in Ripon Buildings this week, officials who visited various areas for preparing the DPR voiced their concern about the resistance by encroachers of the waterbodies. “Some people have started resisting. We will get support from the Revenue Department and the police. A coordination meeting has been held. The survey will be completed in January,” said an official.

The project report by TWIC will focus on reduction of pollution in the waterbodies. The number of plots developed illegally in the waterbodies will also be estimated. The 57 waterbodies include Alapakkam Lake, Silanthi Kuttai in Thiru-Vi-Ka Nagar, Baskar Colony Park in Saligramam, Linga Kulam in Vanagaram Main Road, Sivan Koil Kulam on Arcot Road, Pillayar Koil Kulam on Velachery-Tambaram Main Road and ECR Pond in Kottivakkam.

Mapping encroachment

For example, most of the ponds identified in Sholinganallur have an area of under 1000 sq. m. because of encroachments over the years. In many areas, preliminary investigation has shown that the actual area of the lakes is significantly bigger than the existing water spread area. The survey is expected to map the extent of encroachment and the original area of the waterbody. “Many buildings have been constructed in the waterbodies. Removing those will be a challenge,” said an official.

The DPR has already been prepared for another 37 lakes at a cost of ₹10.61 crore. But the report has not covered the details of encroachments. A large lake in Sadayankuppam has to be restored at an estimated cost amount of ₹38.46 crore without removing any encroachments. It has been integrated by the consultant for construction of stormwater drains in Kosasthalaiyar Basin. After ecorestoration, the civic body will permit local residents to maintain the waterbodies. Zonal officials have already removed garbage and silt from waterbodies which were used as a dumping yard for the municipalities and panchayats that were merged in 2011 with Chennai Corporation.

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