Pathways to man-made islands in Mookaneri Lake demolished

Pathway to an island in Mookaneri Lake in Salem being demolished with an earth mover on Saturday.- PHOTO: E. LAKSHMI NARAYANAN  

Salem Citizen’s Forum on Saturday has began demolishing pathways to islands in Mookaneri Lake, in Salem, in a bid to curtail misuse of the islands by miscreants.

According to sources, the lake sprawling on an area of 58 acres was renovated about three years ago.

The beautified lake has 45 (man-made) islands created using the clay excavated from the tank. Each island is about 10 feet high from the lake bed and sprawls on an area of a few thousand square feet. Members of the Salem Citizen’s Forum, a group of like-minded nature enthusiasts who beautified the lake and planted naaval, neem, aala maram, arasa maram and vetiver saplings on these islands to increase the green cover, are now demolishing these pathways to make the island inaccessible to miscreants. The saplings that they planted have grown as tall as 20 feet and have thickly covered the islands. While the trees have served their purpose of beautifying the lake, they have also become a cover for miscreants.

“The miscreants play cards, gamble, consume alcohol and throw the empty bottles all over the lake”, laments S. Vignesh (21), a college student, who visits the lake often.

“Hundreds of water packets, empty alcohol bottles and plastics cups can be seen on the islands. The miscreants earlier used the islands closer to the bunds for such activities and were often chased away by the police. Now they are using the interior islands”, said R. Gurumoorthi, vice-president of the Mookaneri Farmers Association.

Piyush Manush, Convenor of Salem Citizen’s Forum, said that the pathways were established to plant saplings and to maintain the islands.

“But recently many peepal trees have been chopped down and miscreants have also set some trees on fire. The lack of cooperation of residents is an important reason for miscreants misusing the place”, he said.

Mr. Piyush said that their forum has started demolishing the pathways to these islands on Saturday. “We will use coracles to reach the islands and maintain them. More islands will be created soon after completion of the demolition of the existing pathways”, he said.