PWD yet to complete restoration of Chennai lakes even as residents complain

With northeast monsoon expected to set in a few days, several water bodies in the flood-prone areas in the city are yet to be restored by the Public Works Department (PWD).
PWD yet to complete restoration of Chennai lakes even as residents complain
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With Chennai getting moderate showers in recent days, lakes in these areas have been flooding the locality. Residents complain that though officials are inspecting the lakes, they don’t take any steps to revive them.
Velachery, one of the flood-prone areas in the city, gets inundated for mild showers. Locals have been worried that the lake that was once used for drinking and domestic purpose, has been encroached with over 2,000 buildings with sewage from the houses discharging into the lake.
“More than 2,000 encroachments have been identified in one side of the lake alone and the sewage from the houses and shops on encroached lands is directly being let into the lake. The officials are inspecting the lake, but no steps had been taken to date. Already one side of the lake is shrunk and in the next few days the entire Velachery Lake will be disappeared,” said M Balakrishnan, a resident of Velachery.
“However, they can still save the lake by restoring and removing the encroachments. As there is frequent rain nowadays, the lake would have at least stored 1 TMC of water. Since the lake is not restored it is unable to store rainwater. And when the monsoon starts the situation would be difficult for us,” he added.
Similarly, residents near Vengaivasal Lake also complain that though they have requested the PWD officials to restore the lake by themselves, they denied it. However, till now the water body is not restored during rainy days and rainwater gets mixed with sewage and floods nearby houses.
“For more than two years, the lake is being polluted as the sewage gets mixed. We are tired of filing complaints to set up a sewage treatment plant and restore the water body. But to date, none are bothered to restore the water body and came up with a solution to stop sewage discharge. Now, even for a moderate shower, the lake starts overflowing and the entire area is flooded, and we cannot imagine the situation when the monsoon begins,” said V Seetharaman, a resident of Rajakilpakkam.
Meanwhile, the PWD, which is in the process of pre-monsoon work, said that they have identified vulnerable points in and around the city and works are in the process to prevent flood during the northeast monsoon.
“The water bodies are filled with 85 per cent of water capacity, and the restoration and maintenance work of water bodies is in process in order to prevent flood during the monsoon period. Since the southwest monsoon is yet to be withdrawn we still have some time. The culverts are been cleaned and at some places, we are placing temporary culverts at six meters for the steady water flow if there is heavy rain,” said a senior PWD official.

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