CHENNAI: It’s either sewage, garbage or encroachments which choke lakes in the metropolitan area. However, all three together are effecting a slow death on Veeraraghavan Lake at Chromepet. A thick layer of hyacinth covers the entire water spread, indicating the high level of pollution and water toxicity. However, repeated requests of local residents to reclaim this waterbody has fallen on deaf ears.
“This is an important waterbody which can boost groundwater reserves of nearby areas, but officials are least bothered about reclaiming it. It is sad that people are forced to buy water from nearby areas though Chromepet has lots of lakes,” said V Santhanam, president of the Federation of Civic and Residents Welfare Association of Pallavaram Municipality.
While the lake has become a dumpyard for locals, all stormwater drains emptying into the lake are carrying sewage. Residential encroachments on the lake also empty their sewage into the lake.“Chromepet is supposed to be completely covered with underground sewage scheme. This emptying of sewage into the lake shows that it is a myth,” Santhanam said.
While PWD recently tried cleaning parts of Thiruneermalai lake which the Veeraraghavan Lake empties into, locals claimed that the latter had not been desilted in over a decade. When contacted, an official of Thiruneermalai Panchayat cited lack of funds for desilting Veeraraghavan Lake. “We are in talks with local NGOs and welfare associations to clean the lake as a temporary measure,” the official said.