Has the battle for Puzhal lake begun?

Thirumullaivoyal residents intensify efforts to see the waterbody freed of the scourge of garbage dumping. Avadi Corporation and PWD put measures in place to check this practice

Over the years, garbage-laden lorries queueing up along the one-kilometre-long Arikamedu Main Road, that is along the bund of the lake, at night has become a common sight.

These lorries disgorge tonnes of refuse and discards including construction material into the lake. Without street lights, the street is plunged in darkness and many motorists avoid this road, a factor making this operation easier to be carried out, says

A. Giri Ravanan, secretary, Venketachalam Nagar Residents Welfare Association.

Another factor is that the nearest neighbourood — Venketachalam Nagar — is quite some distance away.

Now, residents of Venketachalam Nagar have formed small teams, most of which constituted by youngsters, to monitor the movement of these lorries and send an alert to office-bearers of Venketachalam Nagar Residents Welfare Association. Shopkeepers at a few shops found in the vicinity of the lake are allies in this monitoring work.

“Following repeated petitions from residents, the Avadi Corporation, with the help of the Public Works Department, which maintains the waterbody, cleared tonnes of garbage along the bund a fortnight ago. LED lights were also installed to deter motorists from dumping garbage in the lake,” says Giri Ravanan.

A six-feet-high steel fence is also being erected by the Corporation. Besides, CCTV cameras are being installed at strategic locations on the road. Further, crash-barriers are being planned to prevent lorries and other heavy vehicles from entering the stretch.

The Puzhal lake is located on Grand Northern Trunk Road, a national highway that connects the city with Kolkata. Despite being a rain-fed waterbody, it supplies water to the city round the year. The lake is situated on the northern side of Thirumullaivoyal.

In terms of groundwater recharge, localities like SVT Nagar, Venketachalam Nagar, Subramaniya Nagar and Thendral Nagar East benefit from the lake. In fact, the lake has kept most of the borewells in the neighbourhood going dry.

It may be noted that with the heavy showers brought it brought, cyclone Nivar led to inundation of many residential localities in Thirumullaivoyal, and these included areas round the Puzhal lake.

Though it sprawls across 4,500 acres, the waterbody could not hold the water that drained into it, resulting in the flooding of areas around it. It was plain to see that waste pile-ups in the lake had reduced its water storage capacity.

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