Claiming delay in lake renovation, Chennai's Chitlapakkam residents plan to take to the streets
With not enough water from the Madambakkam-Chitlapakkam pipeline project, residents of Chitlapakkam said they were counting on the revival of the lake to avert a drinking water crisis next year.
CHENNAI: After Chief Minister ‘Edappadi’ K Palaniswami announced Rs 25 crores for the renovation of the Chitlapakkam lake under Section 110 of Tamil Nadu Assembly Rules in July, residents are set to take to the streets on October 20 to demand faster desilting.
While the allocation of Rs 25 crores has not been sanctioned yet, mining and deepening process has been taken up by a private agency under a quarrying plan through the district collector.
Around 15% of the work in the Southern side of the lake has been completed. Sources in the PWD said that the private agency who is taking up the work had to pay around Rs 32 lakhs in advance and was expected to recover the cost by selling silt.
“In an arrangement like this, where they pay us for the work, there may be a delay when the firm does not find takers for the silt,” said the official.
However, with the monsoons approaching, residents said that if not for the state government announcement, residents would have continued the work themselves.
“We, as residents, had already begun cleaning the lake before the announcement that the State Government is going to take it up and so we called it off. If we had known it would be delayed, we would have at least utilised the momentum that we had then and made some kind of progress,” said Sunil Jayaram, one of the founders of Chitlapakkam Rising, a volunteer organisation whose members spearheaded the effort.
With not enough water from the Madambakkam-Chitlapakkam pipeline project, residents of Chitlapakkam said they were counting on the revival of the lake to avert a drinking water crisis next year. “Now, if the monsoon hits, renovation works will have to be suspended and we have to wait out a season,” said Sunil.
When contacted, an official from the PWD department said that due to the recent rains, the use of machinery in the lake bed was impossible.
“As for the Rs 25 crore project, we are awaiting administrative sanction for the renovation works. We have already submitted the scheme estimates and it is awaiting clearance in the finance department. We are expecting the sanction to come through within a period of ten days,” the official said.