Chennai: Tender hands cleaned up a prominent pond in Kancheepuram district on Sunday morning. Led by the anti-Tasmac crusader, A Aakash, a group of 100 volunteers, including close to 20 children, cleaned up Periyakulam, a ten-acre water body at Padur off Old Mahabalipuram Road.
Seven-year-old Aakash had gathered his friends and fellow children from the village to restore the water body, a move that may motivate many others to join the cause. Maintenance by the Public Works Department of the lake, located next to the Manikandeshwar Koil, has been so shoddy that the water body is in very poor condition, choked by piles of plastic and sewage being allowed to flow inside.
Known for his dedicated protests against liquor shops in the state, Aakash encouraged the children to take up the initiative. In a well-mannered tone, a boy studying Class-3 told Deccan Chronicle, “The pond needs more cleaning. We will not give up cleaning it.”
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The boy, who is into activism, requested the state government to restore all the water bodies in the state. According to the locals, the pond is more than 100 years old and plays a pivotal role in recharging the groundwater. Once a lifeline to agriculturists, the pond is now a victim of encroachments by the public and is crying for attention. The boy's father, Chengai Aanandan said, “The pond was in a good condition even a year ago. There was no maintenance after the local bodies were dissolved. How can one special officer replace a localbody?” Volunteers at the cleaning site echoed a similar view as they asked the State Government to conduct elections at the earliest to the local bodies so that responsible officers are in place.