The southern bench of the National Green Tribunal has directed a joint committee to verify revenue records of the Narayanapuram Lake in Pallikaranai to ascertain the original extent of the lake and find out if there are any unauthorised encroachments, and the action taken on such encroachments.
The committee has also been directed to conduct water analysis tests to assess the quality of the water in the lake and if contaminated, to find out the sources of contamination, and suggest steps to be taken to restore the lake to its original position.
The bench, comprising Justice K. Ramakrishnan and expert member Saibal Dasgupta, also asked the committee to look at a long-term and short-term solution to protect the lake from further encroachments by establishing bio-diversity parks or tree plantation around the lake and construction of any compound wall or other such measures.
The directions came on a report taken up suo moto by the Tribunal that said the lake in Pallikaranai initially spanned 120 acres and was earlier used for providing drinking water and also acted as a rain water harvesting system. However, due to encroachments on the lake, the total area has shrunk to 45.05 acres. The report said due to lack of maintenance and negligent use of the area by the State government authorities and the Highways Department, the extent of the lake has been reduced by constructing the Pallavaram – Thoraipakkam radial road.
“The committee is also directed to mention as to whether there was any scheme launched by the Government or the local authorities for maintaining this water body and if so, its stage of implementation and ascertain the existence of the inflow and out flow canals and drains which act as a storm water drain to carry excess rain water into the lake,” the bench said.