Tamil Nadu

145 ponds in city are shrinking

Depleting resource: Many of the waterbodies have reduced in size owing to urbanisation and encroachments. File

Depleting resource: Many of the waterbodies have reduced in size owing to urbanisation and encroachments. File   | Photo Credit: G. Krishnaswamy


Restoration to be taken up in phases; Corporation blames panchayats

The Chennai Corporation has identified 145 waterbodies that were not properly maintained by the local bodies before merger with the city in 2011. The civic body will begin eco-restoration of such lakes and ponds in various residential neighbourhoods shortly.

Many of the waterbodies in the erstwhile panchayats have reduced in size over the past few years owing to rapid urbanisation, land grabbing and encroachment, officials said.

Sources said that data on land records from the panchayats have also not been properly handed over to the Chennai Corporation after the merger in 2011, leading to encroachment of lands and waterbodies meant for public purpose in the city.

Many of the lakes and ponds have already been developed into layouts with the connivance of a few officials in the panchayats, Corporation officials charge.

Recreation space

Space for recreation has also reduced considerably in most of such neighbourhoods that have merged with the city, prompting the civic body to explore alternatives. The restoration would also improve ground water , officials said.

This year, the Chennai Corporation Special Officer’s Council has started passing resolutions on rejuvenating the waterbodies using funds from various sources such as Smart City Mission. “Most of the ponds and lakes have reduced in size. We will restore them. Residents will use them for recreation,” said an official.

For example, restoration of north Chennai waterbodies such as Teachers Colony Pond estimated at ₹37.33 lakh, Chavadi Kulam at ₹20.38 lakh, Samiyar Kulam at ₹19.24 lakh, Basin Kulam at ₹195.45 lakh and Perumal Koil Street Kulam at ₹31.71 lakh will be taken up shortly.

Similarly, 280 waterbodies in the Chennai Metropolitan Region will also be restored with support from various local bodies.

Officials said the waterbodies played a vital role in promoting water security to the city. “We have to study the entire ecosystem of the water bodies to restore them. Many cities in other parts of the world are facing similar challenges,” said S. Santhanam, former member-Chief Urban Planner CMDA.

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Printable version | Jan 29, 2020 11:50:03 PM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/national/tamil-nadu/145-ponds-in-city-are-shrinking/article22872232.ece

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