VELLORE: The district administration has taken a major initiative to rejuvenate the traditional water bodies and their inlet channels from the catchment areas at a cost of Rs 1.82 crore under the Mahatma Gandhi National Rural Employment Guarantee Act (MGNREGA) Scheme.
Besides this, the authorities also proposed to remove the blockades in channels that connected these water bodies with the Palar River for a stretch of about 20 kms from Pallikonda to Vellore before the onset of the southwest monsoon in July.
“The objective of the scheme was to revitalise the traditional water sources in the district to store rain water and improve the ground water level across the district,” District Collector Ajay Yadav told Express. “It is also aimed at turning the lakes into water storage units instead of creating new storage facilities and rainwater harvesting systems”
The water bodies, in their current status, could not hold optimal water due to excess deposit of silt and encroachments along the connecting channels.
Six major lakes in the district - Mosur, Kalinjur, Tirupattur, Thorapadi, Saduperi and Tharapadavedu - which were in disuse for several years due to silt deposit and neglect, would be covered under the initiative.
“We are engaging a section of the workforce enrolled under the MGNREGA scheme to weed out the shrub jungle from the lakes,” said Yadav.
The district administration, on average, used 2,150 beneficiaries of the MGNREGA scheme every day to remove the shrub jungle in the lakes and its channels from the catchment areas.
“I have also directed officials of the Public Works Department to desilt the lakes and remove encroachments along them and the inlet channels to ensure free flow of water from the catchment areas. The PWD officials will start the deepening and eviction work after the shrubs are removed under MGNREGA scheme,” he said.
He added that the work commenced two weeks ago. Apart from the six lakes listed, the administration also planned to revive three other lakes - Pasumathur, Kavanur and Veppur.
“We are also planning to clear the blockades and restore the connecting channels on either side of Palar River from Pallikonda to Vellore. It would help store optimum level of rain water and improve the ground water level to get rid of water scarcity,” added Yadav.