CHENNAI: In a bid to protect the Porur lake, residents from around the area and members of Poovulagin Nanbargal – an NGO involved in environment protection held an awareness-cum-protest walk on the bypass road near the lake on Sunday. About 50 members walked through the road for about an hour and discussed ways to save the lake from drying up completely. “I have been living here since the time I was a kid. I have seen this lake when it used to be huge. I am also seeing the silt being removed from the bottom of the lake. If we don’t stop this, like other ones this lake too will fade into history,” said S Selvaraj, a resident. Three months ago, Poovulagin Nanbargal had launched a movement to save lakes and ponds in the State along with Rajendra Singh, who is also known as the ‘water man of India’.
“There is a lot of water politics taking place in the city and everywhere for that matter. According to the Constitution no lake can be classified as patta land, but here they have given it to people, which is illegal,” said George Joseph from the organisation. In its recent directive, the South Bench of the National Green Tribunal had directed the PWD to stop laying roads across the lake, which has been welcomed by activists.
“Thirty six lakes have been destroyed so far. We now go to get water from Kancheepuram and Tiruvallur. Even that will disappear in a while, then where do we go?” asks George. “In Mogappair, the residents found that ground water there has huge iron content. Not only this, the NGT had also spoken about forming a pond in the lake, which makes no sense at all,” he adds.
While the residents were busy speaking about the issue, a few people were busy fishing on the banks. “We get to catch a few fish, it’s fun to be here,” says Velan Kumarasamy, another resident.