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Panamarathupatti lake to get Rs 98-crore facelif

DMK's attempt is the latest among many and officials and residents hope to see the success of the project.

Published: 20th April 2022 08:00 AM  |   Last Updated: 20th April 2022 08:00 AM   |  A+A-

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By Express News Service

SALEM: Panamarathupatti lake, situated 20 km away from Salem city, will become a major water source once its renovation is complete. Officials are in the works of choosing a consultant to prepare a detailed project report (DPR) to revamp it for Rs 98 crore.

The project, which was halted a long time ago, was revived when the DMK government came to power in 2021. The Salem district administration and the Salem City Municipal Corporation (SCMC) is making efforts to renovate the lake and make it a tourist spot. In the ongoing assembly session, Municipal Administration Minister KN Nehru said the government will look into the possibility of using the lake as a water source again.

Last week, Nehru had participated in a review meeting at Salem Collectorate and said the lake will be renovated at a cost of Rs 98 crore and works to prepare the DPR will start soon.

Speaking to TNIE, SCMC Commissioner T Christuraj said, "Within the next two days, we will finalise the consultant for preparing DPR. The renovation includes restoration of the lake, strengthening the lake bund, setting up eco-tourism and providing drinking water to villages in the locality and also to urban areas. After the preparation of DPR, we will provide information to the residents in an open forum."

The lake was built in 1911 by the British to supply drinking water to Salem and nearby villages in Panamarathupatti before the construction of the Mettur dam (which was built in 1934). The Panamarathupatti lake is spread over 2,137 acres; its catchment area is 860 acres. The main water sources for the lake are Varattaru and Kottaru. The lake is owned by the SCMC.

In the 1980s, various check dams were constructed across Varattaru and Kottaru. This resulted in decreasing the water flow to Panamarathupatti lake. Encroachments on the lake have also impacted the lake adversely. As the lake went dry over the years, Seemai Karuvelam (Prosopis Juliflora) started growing on the lake bed at a rapid rate and it covered more than 500 acres of it.

In 2012, the SCMC retrieved encroached lands from the public to revamp the waterbody and make it a tourist spot. But the plan had to be dropped without any funding. But it later sought the STate government's help and also nominated a Delhi-based company to prepare a project report to make the lake a tourist spot. But years passed and no action was taken.

Again in 2016, the SCMC floated a tender to remove Seemai Karuvelam from the lake at the cost of `4.64 crore. A private company got the bid and around 300 workers were engaged in removing the vegetation. While machines were used to remove the vegetation on around 400 acres of the lake bed, the company suffered losses as they couldn't break even by selling the trees.

In 2017, the SCMC had sent a proposal to Tamil Nadu Urban Finance and Infrastructure Development Corporation Limited (TUFIDCO) seeking Rs 28 crore to revamp the lake as an eco-tourist spot. But the State government did not provide funds. Seemai Karuvelam has grown again and hundreds of acres are covered by it.

DMK's attempt is the latest among many and officials and residents hope to see the success of the project.



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