Citizens’ forum upset over pollution of lake

Upset over the continuance of pollution of Kumaragiri Lake at Ammapet in Salem city by a few polluting dyeing units of that locality, Salem Citizens Forum (SCF) has planned to organise demonstrations to condemn the alleged inaction of the Tamil Nadu Pollution Control Board (TNPCB) from Monday, November 4.

“The lake that sprawls on an area of 39.25 acres of land was once a major drinking water source for Salem. Negligence turned it into a storage for untreated effluents and sewage, and a dump yard for plastic materials. It was then that SCF decided to renovate the lake,” members of the forum said.

SCF Convenor Piyush Manush told The Hindu that renovation of Kumaragiri Lake to put it to constructive use, started after obtaining permission from Salem Corporation and Government Department officials concerned, to adopt and renovate the water body. “The work began in the first week of April, this year,” he said.

Since then, Rs. 37 lakh has been collected from 450 donors and spent constructively to strengthen its bunds, desilting and beautifying it by planting saplings — that would also improve the green cover of the fast developing city.

“The contributions range between Rs. 10 and Rs. 1 lakh. We are facing a deficit of Rs. 40 lakh to complete the renovation works,” he added.

SCF members said that 400 truck loads of plastic were removed from the lake’s bed with earth movers and buried below the place where the bund is now prepared for the walking path.

“As many as 40 island-like structures have been made by desilting the slush from the river bed,.We have planted 7,000 saplings of various trees on the islands,” R. Gopal, a member added.

According to the Convenor, people of this city are agitated over the pollution menace as they have not only pooled in their money but put in their effort to clean the water body over the last six months.

“As many as 40 truck loads of plastic wastes have been hand picked by more than 700 people and 2,000 student volunteers, who are visiting the lake on a weekly basis and taking part in the cleaning and planting drives,” he said.

They said that this involvement has made them furious as all the hard work put in by them over the months is on the verge of getting wasted due to dumping of effluents by eight dyeing units of that locality.

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