Activists in Chennai to complete renovation works at Puzhal lake channel

Chennai: Puzhal lake clean-up has been going on a roll in recent times. With a designated team working towards the project, the initiative has found appreciation and support from the residents of the neighbourhood.

Activists, general public, school and college students have all been pitching in to make restoration of the enormous waterbody a success.

It all started more than two months ago when a few activists joined hands and surveyed the lake’s perimeter and found that the Baby canal was worst affected.

So, immediately, they sent letters to the Public Works Department (PWD) seeking permission to restore the canal. Speaking to News Today, Praveen Venkatesan who is the coordinator gave details about the initiative and the formation of Puzhal Aeri Seeramaippu Kuzhu.

Under the banner, activists and public came together to restore the canal and ensure that water flows freely into the lake. According to the team, the first round of clean-up activities that took place more than a month ago, saw around 50 people turn up. The activists meet every Sunday and work from 6 am to 10 am.

Mani, who is one of the core members of the team, said, “Although the number was respectable at first, slowly more and more people started to turn up. Last time around, more than 300 persons came and we made excellent progress.”

The initiative gained momentum when the PWD officials gave permission on the condition that work must be carried out for at least two months. It is also said that the activists garnered a significant amount to carry out the work.
However, they did face difficulties, said Mani.

“The garbage present there made things very hard for us. We have removed huge amounts of waste from the canal. But because we were exposed to it for a long period of time, some of us got sick even. But still, the project will have to be completed,” said the activist.

It must be noted that Puzhal lake is one of the biggest reservoirs that feeds the entire Chennai city. With the lake dry, officials had resorted to taking water from quarries and wells. They even bring in water from Jolarpettai at present.
Residents said the work carried by the activists will pay dividends soon. “When monsoon arrives, we expect to see the lake brim up. Also, many parts of Andhra Pradesh is battered with heavy rains and the government has said it will release water. We need to keep our reservoirs ready to take in that water and the canal work will help immensely,” said Damodaran, a resident.

However, he expressed displeasure regarding the issue as well. “It is the government that should do these works. Every single individual who buys a commodity pays taxes. Proper usage of funds is key to running a good system. Because officials rarely do that, people have to get to work, despite having paid their taxes already. But it is good to see youngsters doing the dirty job so that the future can be bright,” he added.