Otteri's Herbal Hotspot Wanes with Neglect

With poorly-maintained toilets, accumulated plastic wastes and no water supply, Otteri Herbal Park, which was one of the first of its kind in the city, now remains neglected.

Published: 26th May 2015 06:05 AM  |   Last Updated: 26th May 2015 07:50 AM   |  A+A-

CHENNAI: The herbal park which was developed on the site that was once a dumping yard, in Otteri, is poorly maintained due to neglect from civic body authorities.

Water supply in the park ran out months earlier. Yet, no action has been taken by Corporation officials. Due to this, the indigenous plant species inside the park are worn out and the water fountains do not function. The park’s toilet does not have lighting and water. “Four borewells which were dug to draw water have dried out,” said a zonal official.

Leaves, plastic wastes and other garbage lie accumulated along the footpath on the park. Small time vendors have begun commercial activity inside the park. This remains unchecked by the security guards. Despite this, the 11-acre park attracts a sizeable crowd due to the wide open space on offer. “This is a great park. I come here all the time. If they maintained the greenery by watering the plants, this area would look lush,” said Gajalakshmi S, a local resident.

Curiously, the guards have been asked to shut the gates to the park by 6 pm. When CE quizzed the security guard on duty, he said that their supervisor had asked them to do so. “The administration has not been efficient. This is the case with other notable parks like Semmozhi Poonga as well. As far as any park is concerned, it is mandatory that it be kept open until 10 pm. If water is an issue, the Corporation should make alternate arrangements,” said former Mayor M Subramanian.

When it was developed, the herbal park in Otteri was the first and only one of its kind in the city. Costing the Corporation nearly `3 crore, this tropical dry evergreen forest was developed with help from the famed Pitchandikulam Forest Consultants of Auroville. Opened to the public in February 2011, the park has nearly 400 indigenous plant and tree species besides many fruit-bearing trees like lemon, guava and other medicinal plants.

Treated water for parks

  • The Corporation of Chennai is actively considering using treated water supply for use in the parks across the city.
  • A pilot test conducted on the Nungambakkam Park located near Apollo Hospitals where waste water from the Nungambakkam canal was drawn and treated before being used to water the plants has been successful.
  • Officials say they were able to treat and use nearly 100 KLD (kilo litres per day) water. “We are now going to try it out at Otteri Herbal park and then gradually expand it across other parks,” they say.
  • Getting water out of bore well (in Otteri) looks impossible so we have decided to use treated water from Otteri Nullah. A tender will be floated soon to call upon bidders to set up a small unit within the park, say officials.
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