Chennai: After sleeping for more than three years, the state government on Wednesday kickstarted the much-awaited eco restoration work of the Villivakkam lake. The restoration project estimated at Rs 16 crore will have boating and children play area facilities and will be completed by next year.
According to Chennai corporation sources the project was a brainchild of former CM Jayalalithaa and she had plans to beautify the major water bodies in Greater Chennai.
Subsequently Madhavaram, Red Hills, Villivakkam and Ambattur lakes were identified by police makers for a major restoration where the catchment areas was to be made free from encroachments. However the project was kept in abeyance for reasons best known to officials.
Restoration of Villivakkam lake will now be carried out using smart city projects and its capacity from 20,000 cusecs will be enhanced to hold 70,000 cusecs. About 11 acres of the total 40 acres of the lake will be retained by the Chennai metro water authorities to construct water treatment and effluent plants.
As part of the beautification project, the lake will have parking lot, walk area, Aavin parlour, open theatre, and a children’s area will come up. Stormwater drains will be connected to the lake and the entire canal system connecting the water body will be strengthened, sources said.
Earlier in the day, state ministers D. Jayakumar and S. P. Velumani inaugurated the project. “The tank presently holds water to a depth of one metre. The storage capacity will be increased by three to five times”, minister Velumani said.
Corporation commissioner D. Karthikeyan briefed the ministers about the project execution and said that the access for the common man to the lake will be improvised through approach roads. It may be noted that the state, which failed to protect the water body from its original size sprawling over 70 acres, has recently cleared encroachments close to three acres.