The Velachery Lake is in for a major facelift. Preliminary work began recently on removing the thick layers of water hyacinth that cover the eastern part of the lake. Soon, a proposal to build a walkers’ path around the lake’s perimeter could take off. This is part of the larger development proposal for the lake, which includes parks and boating services.
Officials of the Water Resources Department of the PWD are currently preparing wide development proposals for the Velachery Lake. This is expected to be completed in a week’s time, after which officials and elected representatives are expected to decide on the final road map.
The development of the lake is being pushed by local South Chennai MP Chitlapakkam S Rajendran and Velachery MLA MK Ashok. Both Rajendran and Ashok told City Express that they had earmarked `50 lakh each from their constituency development fund for the purpose and were waiting to release the funds as soon as the plan was finalised.
“The PWD has already begun work on removing the water hyacinth. This is only the preliminary phase of the work. This will be followed by removal of all encroachments along the lake’s banks. By this time, we expect to have made decisions based on the proposals and then release funds for major part of the work,” Rajendran said. He added that representations had been made with Tourism Minister Gokula Indira, asking the Tourism Department to consider introducing boating services at the Velachery Lake.
“After we get through the entire process, we expect to finish the work within a year. We are prioritising this work,” said Ashok. The preliminary work took off on June 22 in the presence of Rajendran, Ashok, PWD Minister KV Ramalingam and Chennai Mayor Saidai S Duraisamy and Saidapet MLA G Senthamizhan.
Duraisamy told City Express that the Chennai Corporation was prepared to take up work on setting up of parks along the lake’s banks if necessary. “We are ready to proceed. It depends on when the PWD finishes its work and hands over the site to us. We can’t really say what the Corporation’s role will be till the proposals are gone through and decisions made, but we are ready to do our bit,” said Duraisamy.
Local residents also expressed optimism over the project. “It is a good idea. I go to Elliot’s Beach or the Thiruvanmiyur Beach for my daily morning walk. If there is going to be a walkers’ path all around the lake, then it will be the closest destination for me,” says ES Ramachandran, a resident of Velachery’s Sitaram Nagar.
“But they have to ensure that the work is completed,” he adds.