Chennai: Polluted Villivakkam lake and dying Kosathalayar river in Tiruvallur district are all set to undergo a major eco-restoration project under which the Chennai corporation will link water bodies as part of its flood mitigation project. Chennai corporation on Monday conducted a consultation meeting with stakeholders on linking Kosasthalaiyar river with city lakes and restoration of Villivakkam lake. The unplanned meeting left residents and social activists with no time to put forth their concerns.
Officials attached to the stormwater department threw detailed project reports (DPR) on proposed integrated stormwater drains and channels that would be inter-linked between the river and adjoining lakes including Ambattur lake, Korattur lake, Retteri lake, and Karappakkam lake. According to official sources, the Villivakkam lake restoration is proposed at an estimate of Rs 13.77 crore and upon completion would alleviate flooding in western suburbs.
“Villivakkam lake was buffer area absorbing stormwater, but the water body was gradually turned in to dump yard. Further, the earth removed from metro rail sites was also dumped in the lake resulting in siltation,” alleged P. Harirangan, president, Sidco Nagar welfare association. Sidco Nagar and surrounding localities flood as the sprawling lake is now reduced to 26 acres from its extent of 39 acres and the project is now proposed only for 26 acres, he added.
“Suddenly the officials called me to come to Ripon Buildings. I thought that they would discuss a court case filed by me regarding Villivakkam lake. Other stakeholders were also displeased by this,” Jayaram Venkatesan, convener, Aroppor Iykkam, who filed a case in high court to restore Villivakkam lake, said.
In the meeting, stakeholders requested Chennai corporation commissioner D. Karthikeyan to arrange a meeting in Villivakkam so that more residents can participate. “The commissioner accepted the request and assured another meeting will be organized in Villivakkam area,” added Jayaram Venkatesan. Chennai corporation, in the DPR, said it would grow greenery along the bunds and connecting canals. The greenery will act as a natural purifier of stormwater entering the lake, as it will absorb sewer contents. So lakes will be clean and recharge groundwater. The surplus water during monsoon will be prevented from draining into the sea, Chennai corporation officials said....