CHENNAI: Following heavy rains last month, the canals carrying sewage to Korattur lake were broken open by local officials, to allow rainwater to flow into the lake and reduce inundation in the area.Both the Korattur and DTP Colony culverts were closed after the NGT order in 2016 and water was diverted to Otteri Nullah. However, in a blatant violation, civic authorities have been repeatedly opening up the canals and have failed to stop the discharge of industrial effluents from Ambattur and sewage water into the Korattur lake. The monsoon period is crucial for groundwater recharge and the emptying of sewage into the lake has worried residents majorly.
One of the NGT petitioners and founder of Korattur People’s Welfare and Awareness Trust, S Sekharan said, “There are about 60,000 houses in nearby villages including Mangalapuram, Kachanakuppam, Pattravakkam and Athipet among others, that let sewage into the Korattur lake. Warning boards were put up near the canals in a bid to create awareness among the public on the NGT order. Yet, the issue continues.”
The residents now seek a permanent solution to the issue. “The width of both the canals must be increased to at least 30 ft to prevent stagnation of rainwater in residential areas of Korattur and the Ambattur Industrial Estate area. Further, encroachments near the lake must be removed at the earliest and a fence must be built along the lake to avoid further encroachments,” said one of the residents.According to a study conducted by the Tamil Nadu Pollution Control Board, the soil of Korattur Lake is highly polluted. Hence, activists suggest desilting and deepening of the lake this summer.
The lake once had thriving populations of fish, visiting birds, snakes and turtles, along with microscopic and macroscopic plants. The eBird database, a repository of birds from around the world, has recorded more than 130 species of birds in and around Korattur lake.When queried about the issue, a city corporation official in Ambattur zone acknowledged that the canal was kept open due to the rains and it has now been closed.