CHENNAI : Though Chennai has around 200 water bodies, most of them are eaten away by encroachments. Such illegal structures pose a huge problem for government to take up restoration works.
One such case is Rajakilpakkam lake in the city’s suburbs. A recent inspection by Public Works Department found that 960 illegal buildings have been encroaching the lake for many decades now. As the highways department will start building a flyover which passes over the edge of the lake, PWD officials inspected the lake to see the extent of encroachments.
“Last week, we inspected the lake and marked its boundary in red. This was when we found many buildings to be constructed on the lake bed. This is a blatant violation. In two months, we will evict people living here and raze the buildings too,” said a senior official from the PWD’s Water Resources Department of PWD.
Also, as the lake’s natural surplus channel has been destroyed by these encroachments, the government will construct a cut and cover drain in its place at a cost of `8.5 crore. Officials said this will convey excess water from the lake to nearby Sembakkam lake.
When a group of volunteers from NGO Arappor Iyakkam visited the waterbody they saw that half of an apartment was built on the lake. “We were shocked to see the number of houses that have recently cropped up in the lake. Until these are removed, restoration is not possible,” said Bala, a member of the organisation.
Flood mitigation project
Restoration of Rajakilpakkam lake came under the `1970 crore comprehensive flood mitigation project in lower Palar basin. As a part of this, tanks at Nanmangalam, Manimangalam, Guduvancherry and Adanur will be restored