CHENNAI: Although the government has initiated the rejuvenation process of three ponds in Ambattur zone in Chennai, several activists have expressed their anguish over the projects. They allege not only have the workmen not desilted or cleared encroachments in two ponds, but also have excavated more than required silt, to sell it for their gains.
“Silt is being excavated for sale at Meenambedu Thangal tank. Ideally, desilting has to be done only up to three feet, but here they have gone beyond at least seven feet. The condition is similar in Madanakuppam lake as well,” said an activist on condition of anonymity. He added that the pond has encroachments for up to six acres, but officials have not cleared any.
P Ramakrishnan, an Ambattur resident said, “The workmen have not touched encroachments at all. Ideally rejuvenation must only begin after clearing these. Now, it will look like the government has approved it and soon apartments will be built here.” Similar encroachments have not been cleared in Araa Kulam and Vannan Kulam as well, allege activists.
Additionally, locals claim that the work done in the name of desilting has been shoddy, despite the government allotting nearly `4 crore for the same. “It has been over 15 years since officials paid any attention to these waterbodies. This kind of a half-baked work might cause more damage for the lake than good,” said R Vidya, another resident.
TNIE contacted zonal office, and the officials said they were unaware of any sand excavation, and assured that the matter will be looked into. Senior officials however, could not be reached for a comment.
Locals claim work done in name of desilting has been shoddy, despite government allotting nearly `4 crore and this kind of half-baked work might cause more damage than good