9 system ponds in Ambattur get a face-lift, thanks to efforts of a Chennai-based NGO  

Vairavan pond, one among the nine water bodies to be restored, was once the primary source of drinking water for locals

Published: 01st September 2019 04:59 AM  |   Last Updated: 01st September 2019 04:59 AM   |  A+A-

After desilting and establishing embankments, the Vairavan kulam sports a new look bereft of weeds, garbage and sewage. | EFI

By Express News Service

CHENNAI: Back in 1970s, the Vairavan Kulam in Ambattur used to one of the main drinking water sources for residents in the locality. People used to stand in queues with pots over their head to fetch water from the pond.

But over the years, the pond was reduced to a barren plot strewn with invasive weeds and garbage. In an effort to bring back the pond to its former self, the Environmentalist Foundation of India (EFI) took up the restoration of the water body and were cleaning it up for the past two months.

Spread over 0.5 acres, the Vairavan pond is one among the nine water bodies that being restored by EFI recently in Ambattur. They are a group of system ponds that are connected to each other by water channels that have been destroyed over the years due to encroachments. Karuppan Kulam, Sadha Kulam, Pidari Ponniamman Kulam, Madanakuppam Kulam and two other ponds in Puthagaram are part of this system. 

"We have completely restored the Vairavan Pond. We desilted the pond and established its embankments. The entire pond will be fenced soon. Sewage inlets have also been plugged," said Arun Krishnamurthy, founder of EFI.

A unique characteristic of the pond was that it already had a couple of wells sunk into its bed. Volunteers of EFI resurrected two such wells. "Presence of these made it an interesting clean-up for the EFI team. This enhances percolation of rainwater to the aquifer and we did not have to install recharge wells like in the case of other water bodies," added Arun.

D Sundaraman, a long-time resident of Venkata Puram.in Ambattur said that though many resident groups had tried to restore the pond before, various political parties had stopped them before. "The pond comes under the Menambedu village. Karuppan and Vairavan Kulam used to the village's main water source. Now houses around these ponds have no water even in their borewells," he added.

But residents are afraid that sewage will once again find its find into the newly restored pond. "Around 200 houses around the pond are not connected to the underground sewage system. Though EFI may have plugged the inlets into the lake now, residents might once again dispose of waste into the pond," said Ramalingam R, a resident.

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