Chennaiites come together to save Oragadam’s Thamarai kulam

Chennai: Saving and conserving the environment has been the recent trend with social activists and environmentalists taking the movement forward and creating awareness among public.

But recently, the trend has shifted to another level in the name that people themselves get into action and reclaim waterbodies and green areas.

Ambattur Waterbodies Protection Movement (AWPM) in the city is one such entity which has environmentalists at its helm, who work towards reclamation and restoration of waterbodies.

They have poured in time, effort and money into restoring waterbodies in and around the locality. However, this time, they planned to out do themselves and took up the restoration of Thamarai Kulam at Oragadam which spans an area of seven acres.

The lake, also called as Lakshmi Amman Kovil kulam has been under serious threat with over 50 years of neglect from the side of the authorities, meaning it was turned into a sewer pit, albeit a multi-acre one.

News Today asked Nedumaran, who is the co-ordinator of the protection movement as to why he and his team chose the lake in the first place. He replied, “It has been neglected for five decades. All the sewer lines from the surrounding areas led to the lake and it was time things changed.”

For years, the lake had been a major source of drinking water for people at Oragadam. “When we went there, the place was stinking. There were seemai karuvelam trees everywhere and we put up a plan in place,” said Nedumaran, who is an advocate by profession.

The team decided that they will bring with them a bulldozer and clean the area around the lake completely. Work started on Thursday and the team plans to complete it by Monday.

“Before we started the plan, we spoke with residents who live nearby and asked them to stop letting sewer water into the lake. They responded immediately. What was surprising was that they even pooled in money and paid the day’s rent for the bulldozer on the second day.”

In all, the team had calculated that they would have to spend Rs 50,000 for the project to be completed, which also includes strengthening the bunds of the lake, setting up a walkers path and there are plans to implement rainwater harvesting at the site, we were told.

But the most important thing is that the team was assured by the residents that the lake will be preserved from now on.

“They just had to see that the lake could be saved. Now that they are seeing the potential of having such a fresh waterbody in their vicinity, they want to do what they can to preserve it.”

Praveen Kumar S