The century-old Robinson Tank that once used to be the pride of the town, is set to get a new lease of life. Work to rebuilt the tank began last week, and people in Gudiyattam town are hopeful that the structure will ease their water woes as it would be one of the biggest rainwater harvesting structures.
The tank, originally built on an area of seven acres, inherited the name of the then Collector of the erstwhile North Arcot district, Sir William Robinson. A plaque near the tank says the construction of the tank was started in 1866 and completed in 1871. It came under the municipality’s control in 1934.
The tank used to receive excess water from the nearby tank at Pakkan village through a canal, which is now encroached. The tank gradually became a dumping spot for domestic waste. It remained an eye sore until last year, when the then Collector of Vellore Ajay Yadav, passed orders to clean the tank.
The cleaning work is a joint initiative by the municipality and the local Rotary Club that had mobilized around Rs 42 lakh through public contribution while the district administration provided a matching grant of Rs 42 lakh through the Self-Sufficiency Scheme.
Municipal commissioner (in charge) Uma Maheshwari said garbage in around 45,000 cubic feet had been cleared in the last nine months. The decomposed garbage was much sought after by farmers in the vicinity, who opted to use it as manure on their farms.
Of the Rs 2 crore allotted for the tank rebuilding work, Rs 130 lakh is being funded by the State and the remaining Rs 70 lakh is being borne by the municipality. Once the tank is rebuilt, it is expected to store around 12 million litres of water, which would help in recharging the underground water table, she said. The work is expected to be completed by April 2014.
Municipal chairperson Amutha Sivaprakasam said the tank would provide locals the much needed recreation through and a pathway around the tank for health conscious people to walk in the morning and evening hours. It would also house a small park with a play area for children, seating arrangement for elders and fencing, besides a good landscape.
“The revival of the Robinson tank was my poll promise and I am glad that I am able to realise it, as well as fulfill the dream of the locals,” Amutha Sivaprakasam said. While the foundation for the revetment walls was laid last week, officials are also trying to evacuate around 70 shops which had encroached the eastern side of the tank and the uzhavar sandhai which had encroached the tank on the western side. The municipality is looking out for alternative locations to house the shops and the market with the help of revenue officials, the chairperson added further.