In order to maintain the grandeur of the historical lake that played a vital role and proved as the best example of water management during the Chola dynasty, the public as well as the tourism enthusiasts urge the government to initiate steps to make the Sembianmadevi lake a tourism destination after declaring it a historical monument.
The 415-acre vast lake has as many as 4,532.99 acre ayacutdar and the main source of collecting excess water from Kollidam through the Nandhiyaru and Koozhayaru. Around 100 villages get water for irrigation through this lake.
According to the local historians, King Kandaraathithan was a staunch devotee of Lord Shiva and so he constructed houses for Vedic scholars and gave them land for cultivation. After providing them a share of land, King Kandarathithan dug a lake for their water source and the lake had desilt works periodically. And the evidences are available in the inscription in the Ranjendra Chola I.
Now, the condition of the lake is so pathetic without proper maintenance and the water reaches the lake currently through the Nandhiyaru and Koozhayaru via Nandhiyaru once the Mettur is opened. At the same time, the lake is totally damaged due to silt and covered with the Seemai Karuvelam and the ground water has been deteriorating year by year. The locals and the farmers demand the state government to desilt the historically important lake.
The lake which had a brim full of water and supported the water need of the people for the past 40 years, has now been lying unused. In 1972, when the state was reeling under severe famine, the lake was desilted. “Son of the soil Anbil Dharmalingam gave a fresh lease of life until 1989 and the people themselves volunteered to desilt in 1993,” said an environmental enthusiast. Thereafter, the farmers went on demanding to desilt the lake.
“A team of students from Tokyo University came here recently and studied the lakes in the district and they recommended for an immediate desilt of the lakes. Otherwise, the entire Ariyalur district turns a desert,” said L Thiyagarajan, the former Principal of Government Arts College, Ariyalur
When contacted, a PWD official, on condition of anonymity, said that at least Rs 100 crore is needed to desilt the entire lake. “If the government declares the lake a historical monument, then it can be maintained by the government properly. Above all, the lake should be made a tourism destination,” the official added.