Lake loses 177 acres to en­croach­ments

From 214 acres in 1972, it is now 36 acres; Cor­po­ra­tion plans float­ing gardens

The Hindu - - FRONT PAGE - Aloy­sius Xavier Lopez

The Vil­li­vakkam lake has lost 177 acres to en­croach­ments, ac­cord­ing to a study. A num­ber of houses, com­mer­cial build­ings and in­dus­tries have been de­vel­oped in 83% of the lake area, re­duc­ing the wa­ter­body to 36.34 acres. In 1972, the lake had an area of 214 acres.

The Chen­nai Cor­po­ra­tion will de­velop float­ing gardens in the Vil­li­vakkam lake as part of the eco-restora­tion of the wa­ter­body.

Ac­cord­ing to a study, a num­ber of houses, com­mer­cial build­ings and in­dus­tries have been de­vel­oped in 83% of the lake area, re­duc­ing the wa­ter­body to 36.34 acres. In 1972, the lake had an area of 214 acres.

The ex­ist­ing bound­aries of the lake in­clude Jawa­har­lal Nehru Road and Padi Rail­way Sta­tion on the west, res­i­den­tial ar­eas on the north, Chen­nai-Tiru­val­lur High Road on the south and SIDCO Na­gar In­dus­trial Es­tate on the east.

“Most of the lake has been lost. The re­main­ing part is pol­luted be­cause of let­ting of in­dus­trial ef­flu­ents. We will de­velop a float­ing raft of phy­tore­me­di­a­tion plants in the lake. The roots will ab­sorb pol­lu­tants from the wa­ter. The plants will re­lease the pol­lu­tants as harm­less gases in the at­mos­phere, clean­ing the wa­ter­body,” said an of­fi­cial.

In ad­di­tion to en­croach­ments by pri­vate agen­cies, Chen­nai Metrowa­ter is us­ing 11.5 acres of the lake for op­er­at­ing its sewer net­work. The Cor­po­ra­tion will have just 24.84 acres for the ecorestora­tion project, said an of­fi­cial.

The study by the Cor­po­ra­tion has pointed to dump­ing of con­struc­tion de­bris in the lake, unau­tho­rised set­tle­ments, rail­way line, high ten­sion line and weed growth as chal­lenges to eco-restora­tion.

Most of the en­croach­ments are along the west­ern and south­ern side of the lake, an of­fi­cial said.

Open air theatre planned

Af­ter the eco-restora­tion, the lake will have an open air theatre, kids play area, Aavin par­lour, park­ing lot, bas­ket­ball court, im­mersed aer­a­tor and a new road par­al­lel to the Padi rail­way line.

Cur­rently, the ex­cess wa­ter from the lake is be­ing re­leased through the south­ern por­tion to Ot­teri Nul­lah. Af­ter eco-restora­tion, sen­sors will be in­stalled in the area, mon­i­tor­ing pol­lu­tion lev­els. The sen­sors will be pow­ered by so­lar en­ergy. The data will be sent to the com­mand and con­trol cen­tre of the Chen­nai Cor­po­ra­tion.

“The lake does not have stormwa­ter drain in­lets. We will con­nect the ex­ist­ing stormwa­ter drains to the lake,” said an of­fi­cial.

V. GANE­SAN ■

New lease of life: A view of the Vil­li­vakkam lake sur­rounded by en­croach­ments, which ex­tends up to the Padi rail­way sta­tion.

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