More than 200 residents of Ezhil Nagar and Avvai Nagar areas of Palavansathu, in ward 42 of the Vellore Corporation have complained of itchiness after using water from a local lake for washing purposes.
The locals had stopped using water from Palavansathu lake for drinking 15 years ago and instead relied on borewell water. They alleged that the lake had been contaminated as drainage from adjoining localities was discharged into it. “People still get water from the lake through pipelines and use it for washing clothes and bathing. Recently, people have complained of an itching sensation and the skin becomes red,” said Kamala, a resident of Ezhil Nagar. Veeran (70), a native of the area said, “My friends and I use to swim and play in the lake about fifty years ago, but people cannot go near it now as it stinks.”
The lake receives water from the nearby Otteri and Gundusoor hills. From Otteri hills, the rainwater flows via Virupatchipuram, Bharathi Nagar and Swamy Nagar before reaching the lake, while water from Gundusoor hills move through Avvai Nagar and Civil Supply godown areas. With the growth of new colonies in the are in the past 20 years, drainage line were laid near the channels.
Former panchayat president of Palavansathu panchayat, Manivel claimed that several petitions were submitted to the taluk office requesting diversion of drainage lines. The panchayat was newly added to the Vellore Corporation a year ago. G Anbu, councillor, of ward 42 recalled that he used to drink water from a well situated near the lake during his school days. “If the lake was de-silted, the water could again quench the thirst of half of the Palavansathu residents,” he affirmed. However, he warned that the problem could turn serious and even contaminate the groundwater, if sewage continued to be dumped in the lake.
Town planning officer, M Kannan said the Corporation had sent a proposal to the State government seeking permission for the second phase of the underground drainage system in the newly added areas. Once the work was taken up, the problem of drainage contaminating the lake water would stop.