Call to restore Old Tambaram lake grows ahead of monsoon
CHENNAI: For almost 30 years, the Old Tambaram lake has remained lifeless without proper restoration and the local residents of West Tambaram have been demanding the restoration of the water body for decades.
Residents complain that most don’t have a sewage connection and the waste water has been discharged into the water body resulting in groundwater contamination.
VN Venugopal, a resident and district president of Tamil Maanila Congress said that they have been doing agriculture for several years near the lake bund, but when the 200 feet road was laid, their agricultural lands were acquired for road widening.
“The government has not desilted or restored the lake and the water body is facing oxygen depletion thanks to the uncontrolled water hyacinth. Adding to the ecological pressure, plastic waste and untreated sewage is let into the lake. The unchecked water pollution had affected groundwater in the locality and the contamination has spread up to one kilometre,” added Venugopal.
Residents complained that the water is not suitable for drinking or for any other domestic purpose. The lake has become a breeding ground for mosquitoes, rodents and insects. People also find it difficult to pass through the lake that is engulfed with foul smell. The residents claim that almost 25 acres of the water body is encroached and the government has not taken any action.
“Earlier, there was no flooding in the locality during the monsoon season. With the illegal buildings eating into the water catchment, the rainfall often overflows leading to inundation in and around the areas,” said K Shankar, another resident.
The lake, which lacks patrolling and is often dark is also den for anti-socials and miscreants.
The Water Resources Department (WRD) said that the government is yet to approve the restoration project. There was no official confirmation from the authorities on the wetland protection even as the State Wetland Protection policy envisages conservation of lakes.