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Encroachments shrinking Pallavaram Lake

K. Manikandan

There is no support from government agencies to our efforts to protect the lake, say residents


  • Dumping of garbage
  • Unplanned development
  • Houses, factories came up in the lake



    ENDANGERED WATER BODIES: Encroachments and discharge of sewage threaten the existence of the Pallavaram lake, one of the biggest water bodies in south Chennai. — Photo: K. Manikandan

    TAMBARAM: One of the biggest lakes in the southern suburbs of Chennai, Periya Eri, is slowly disappearing, thanks to an onslaught by vested interests. Activists are fighting a valiant battle to protect the lake in the absence of concerted efforts from government agencies.

    One half of the Pallavaram Lake (Periya Eri) has almost been taken over by encroachers, while the other half is shrinking due to dumping of garbage over the years. The lake was once spread over 125 acres. Commuters of electric trains still remember water almost coming up to the track during the monsoons even about a decade ago.

    But, due to unplanned development and grabbing of major chunks of the water body by land sharks over the past few years, the lake has shrunk to just about 80 acres, say activists.

    With the laying of the 200-feet Pallavaram-Thoraipakkam Radial Road, the lake was virtually bisected into two halves — one near Chromepet and the other near Pallavaram.

    Residents are sore over the manner in which the radial road was built. The road, they say, has only facilitated miscreants to have a free run in encroaching the lake. According to them, the road could have been built on an elevated stretch at least for a short distance as has been done in the Porur lake.

    The lake, the activists point out, is the best example of civic authorities not implementing welfare schemes devised by the State Government. Though Metrowater is keen on maintaining and protecting the lake and willing to spend Rs. 1 crore for the purpose, it cannot take over until encroachments are removed.

    Rathna Pandian, president of the Kancheepuram District Exnora, complained that their repeated appeals to various arms of the government machinery did not have any response. ``Neither the Kancheepuram district administration nor the local revenue officials have a strong inclination to protect the lake. We have been fighting a lone battle to protect the lake without any support,'' he said.

    According to him, several houses and factories have come up inside the lake in the past 10 years. He alleges that an outfit with political backing has been carrying on systematic efforts to encroach on the lake and develop it into a real estate venture. The water body serves as an important source of groundwater to several thousand houses around the huge lake and there is an urgent need to protect it, says Mr. Pandian.

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