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50 years on, Maduranthagam lake develops 10-ft silt, bottleneck still prevails in desilting process
Claiming that the Maduranthagam lake has not been desilted in the past fifty years, farmers in the region urge the State government to desilt and clean up the lake before the monsoon sets in.
The Maduranthagam lake is one of the biggest lakes in Tamil Nadu, spread across 2,411 acres with the water capacity of up to 23.4 feet. Sources said that this lake is the feeder for 18 other lakes through canals. This lake meets the water needs of farmers in more than 30 surrounding villages.
Sources said that the lake was last renovated some 50 years ago by the then Chief Minister M Karunanidhi with the help of the central government. “After that, the lake has not been cleaned or renovated even once,” said Daniel from Maduranthagam.
“We have submitted petitions to the ruling parties many times in the past decades. We have even signed a petition and requested the collector, PWD officials, and other officials for cleaning the lake. But none of them came forward to start the cleaningprocess.”
As the lake has not been desilted for the past five decades, around 10 feet silt has accumulated in the water body resulting in the drastic reduction of the water storage area. Locals worried that if the lake is not cleaned up before the monsoon season, a lot of rain water would get wasted and villagers who rely on this water would be affected.
While the local body sources allege that one of the reasons for not taking up the desilting work was that there was no space allocated for dumping the desilted soil, the villagers point out that they are willing to purchase the accumulated silt as it would aid them in farming.
When a senior PWD official was contacted, he said that it was a difficult task and required a lot of effort. “However, we are preparing an estate and would soon put out a tender for the cleaning process after identifying the bottlenecks,” the official said.