ARIYALUR: The collector’s permission last month to excavate soil from ponds and lakes in the district has further reduced the prospects of the revival of Eman lake, which was once the largest waterbody and lifeline for T Palur and its surrounding villages. Ridden by encroachments that impeded water supply to the lake for the past two decades, the waterbody is now witnessing soil excavation beyond permissible levels, putting its already slim chances of revival under further threat.
K Shanmugasundaram, a farmer from T Palur, said, “Farmers in need of alluvial soil for farm activities are allowed to extract it from lakes. Generally, they are allowed to excavate soil up to a depth of three feet. However, several people have exceeded the limit and have been lifting soil to a depth of 10 feet from Eman lake.
The lake, which has remained dry for decades, has shrunk to a large extent owing to encroachments. Haphazard extraction of alluvial soil has also led to the formation of large pits on the surface at various places. Children from the village are seen playing here. If it rains heavily, water might stagnate in these pits. There is a risk of children misjudging the depth, falling to it and drowning. Authorities should look into this and restore the lake."
R Sakthivelan, a resident, said, “This used to be the largest lake in T Palur and people have used it for farming activities. It is time the lake is restored and made usable.”
According to activists, Eman lake used to receive water from nearby fields through the Chinthamani stream during the rains. Residents of Michaelpatti and Chinthamani have used this lake for bathing, feeding livestock and even as a drinking water source. Encroachments on channels bringing water to the lake have been cited as the major cause for the waterbody to go dry.
Residents claimed that they have filed several petitions in this connection with the T Palur block development office, but in vain. When contacted, an official from the revenue department said, “I will look into the issue and take action.”