Work on Chitlapakkam lake to begin by end of November

The long-pending dream of residents to get the Chitlapakkam lake restored to its former glory may soon be realised as the Water Resources Department plans to start eco-restoration of the waterbody by this month-end.

Chitlapakkam lake is the uppermost tank in the Keelkattalai cluster of waterbodies and was originally used for irrigation, with an ayacut area of 219 acres. However, residents have been fighting for desilting the lake, which was lying in a state of neglect for many years. The capacity of the lake, which was 7.02 million cubic feet, has been reduced by 24% due to sedimentation, over three decades.

₹25-crore project

WRD officials said tenders for the ₹25-crore project would be finalised in a few days and work would begin by month-end. It would be executed with financial assistance from the Tamil Nadu Pollution Control Board and completed in a year.

Under the eco-restoration project, the Department plans to strengthen the tank bund and form a new foreshore bund for a distance of 960 m. A footpath would be laid on the tank bund.

WRD officials said a drain would be constructed on the foreshore of the lake to collect sewage, which otherwise flows into the waterbody, convey it to the proposed sewage treatment plant and release treated sewage into the lake. About 400 encroachments that have led to the shrinking of the waterbody will also be removed. The lake is spread over 50 acres now.

As part of the flood mitigation plan, several works are being implemented to provide relief to Chitlapakkam, Sembakkam and Selaiyur. Work will be taken up to construct a drain linking Chitlapakkam to Selaiyur lake.

P. Viswanathan, convenor, Chitlapakkam Residents’ Associations’ Coordination Committee, said floodwater from Pachaimalai near Tambaram Sanatorium must also be linked to Chitlapakkam lake. All the missing links between the cluster of lakes must be connected to allow free flow of surplus water from one lake to another and prevent flooding. “Improving this lake is significant for the area. The groundwater table that was at a depth of three feet in 1986 has now gone below 20-30 ft in our open well. People sink borewells up to 300 ft. The restored lake would serve as a groundwater recharge. The cut and cover drains constructed in various areas must be expedited,” he said.

Residents also demanded that eco-restoration of Ambattur, Korattur and Retteri lakes be completed.

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