Officials take cue from Chetpet Eco Park to restore other lakes

Residents welcome the plan wholeheartedly as it will not just make these lakes tourist hotspots, but will also solve water crisis to a large extent while tackling garbage menace at the same time.
Officials take cue from Chetpet Eco Park to restore other lakes

Chennai

Buoyed by the success of restoring Chetpet and Paruthipattu lakes and converting them into recreational eco-parks, the Public Works Department (PWD) now plans to open at least four more eco-parks surrounding the waterbodies in and around the city.
According to PWD officials, Ambattur, Madhavaram and Mangal Eri are next in line to be transformed into eco-parks. The department also has plans to set up islands in the waterbodies to attract migratory birds, similar to Chetpet.
Speaking to DT Next, K Ashokan, Chief Engineer of PWD, said, “We will be turning at least four water bodies into an eco-park this year and cleaning and desilting have already started according to the plan. 
Though the plan was to start the restoration work before the northeast monsoon, that could not be done due to lack of funds. The required funds would be allotted in February and the works are expected to start soon after that.”
He added that the work plan is similar to Chetpet and Paruthipattu lakes. Facilities like pedal boats, walking path and play area for children would be part of the restoration. “Entry fees are yet to be decided. But they would be reasonable,” Ashokan said.
Ambattur Lake
The PWD will soon start the construction of a park along the walkway at Ambattur lake. A total of Rs 13.90 crore has been sanctioned for the project. As part of the restoration project, all storm water drains in the area will be connected to the waterbody so that the rainwater flows into the lake. PWD officials said that they will ensure clearing of garbage and water hyacinth from the waterbody before beginning desilting work. They are expecting approval from the government soon. Residents recalled the poor state in which the lake was earlier and how things changed after volunteers took the initiative to clean it every week. “It took many complaints for the officials concerned to visit the area. Now, they have promised to restore the lake into a tourist spot,” Nandha Kumar, a resident of Ambattur, said.
Madhavaram Lake
The restoration work at Madhavaram lake has already started and it is expected to be completed by the end of January. On completion, it would become the first eco-park in North Chennai. Sources at the PWD said that an entry fee of Rs 20 would be fixed when it is open for the public. Besides a play area for children, the lake will have a palmyra park, a 2 km-long walking track and boating facilities. “Two years ago, the lake was polluted with garbage and sewage. Though several complaints were lodged, the officials concerned did not take any steps to clean the lake till late 2018. Even after the work started, it was stopped midway. Later in June, 2019, the restoration was started again and now it’s almost complete.
Mangal Eri
Residents of Mogappair have been demanding that the PWD restores Mangal Eri and turn it into an eco-park for more than five months. They have been urging the officials to take steps to deepen the lake and also clean it. Mangal Eri is a rain-fed reservoir that used to be a water source for the residents of Mogappair before it began deteriorating after the establishment of Ambattur Industrial Estate. The waterbody was used for agricultural purposes but it dried out. Though it was revived two years ago, the lake has once again deteriorated due to overgrown weed and other pollutions. Residents have been urging the authorities to make use of the partially dried condition of the lake and begin work to dredge and deepen it further to collect more rainwater and develop it into a tourist hotspot like Chetpet Eco Park. “The authorities must take a cue from Chetpet Eco Park and promote sport-fishing and boating here. If the officials had done the work before monsoon, the lake would have collected a good quantity of water,” Venu Kumar E, a resident of Mogappair, said. Official sources said that the cost to restore the waterbody would be Rs 1.25 crore. They added that it will get a pebble pathway with steel railings, yoga and meditation centre, play area for children, and clock tower.
Chetpet Eco Parkse
  • Development cost - 42 crore
  • Total area - 16.1 acres
  • Angling pond - 3.10 acres
  • Boating pond - 6 acres
  • Walkers path - 1.5 km
Features
  • Children’s play area
  • Interpretation centre
  • Amphi-theatre 
  • Food court
Maintained by Fisheries Department
  • Inaugurated in 2016
  • Water from storm water drains and rainwater harvesting structures, connected from Poonamallee High Road, enters the lake

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