CHENNAI: It was with great expectation that people from the southern parts of the city received the news about the government’s plan to beautify Peerkankaranai lake and introduce boating similar to Chetpet lake. This was to be a recreational spot for the whole family at minimal cost. But four years since, the work is only half-done and there is no end in sight.
The lake is one of the biggest waterbodies in the southern suburbs of Chennai. Once spread over about 63 hectares, it has now shrunk to 23 hectares due to encroachment. Over the years, the lake that quenched the thirst of the whole area became polluted and hence unusable.
That was when the Public Works Department proposed a plan in 2018 to convert it into an eco-park. The plan was elaborate and attractive: planting saplings imported from abroad, creating play area for children, boating facility, walkway around the lake and an Aavin parlour for refreshments. The then government allocated Rs 10 crore for the project and the work started in October 2018. Officials said they would remove the 628 buildings that were built on encroached land.
This understandably enthused the residents. “At that time, we were told that the lake would sport a new look within a year. But more than four years have gone by and the lake remains in a sorry state,” said John who lives in the neighbourhood.
“We thought we would get a beautiful eco-park like the one in Chetpet. But all that faded away after COVID when the work was stalled. Now we are hoping that the officials would at least clean the lake so that we can get good water,” said Janani Kannan from Peerkankaranai.
Water hyacinths has taken over most part of the lake surface, while the water is polluted by sewage pipes that dump wastewater into it, rued many among the public here. According to them, there are more than one lakh people residing in Peerkankaranai, and the number is increasing at a fast clip as Peerkankaranai and Perungalathur are the gateways to the city. This also means rise in demand for water, pointed out residents, urging the local body to clean the lake.
When contacted, Tambaram Corporation Commissioner Alagu Meena said the local body and district administration would ascertain with the PWD. “We will finish the work on the project,” the Commissioner said.
Visit news.dtnext.in to explore our interactive epaper!
Download the DT Next app for more exciting features!
Click here for iOS
Click here for Android