Locals protest to save Velacheri lake

Garbage dumped at Velacheri Lake

Chennai: With elections around the corner, residents of Adambakkam are sending a strong message to the contesting candidates to revive the dying Velacheri Lake and address the issue of depleting water table in the area.

A protest which was held a few days ago at Kakkan Bridge, Adambakkam, was by a group of residents from Ganesh Nagar who came together organically for this cause.

“The lake, which is the only source of groundwater recharge and portable water in the area, is covered with hyacinths and has not been cleaned for the past 1.5 years. It will soon be on the list of lost waterbodies,” said S Ramachandran, a resident.

“From a sprawling 257 acres, as per revenue records, the lake is just 50 acres now. It has drastically shrunk! We want it to be preserved and protected hereafter. Also, it needs to be de-silted and a compound wall must be built.”

The protesting residents lamented that while one stretch of the lake at Velacheri 100-Feet-Road was well laid with footpath and street lights, the other side is encroached and is being used as a spot for dumping waste by slaughter houses, and many illegal drain pipes are also let into it.

Residents of Ganesh Nagar during the protest

The protesters wanted to draw attention of those contesting to take up the issue seriously. “During the protest, we said we will not vote for any party,” this, Ramachandran claimed, was said to raise awareness and curiosity of the authorities.

Shankari Raj, one of the organisers and resident of Adambakkam, said that depleting water level was a burning issue. “An apartment complex here was dug up to 650 feet deep for constructing bore well,” she said angrily.

Retired Registrar of Madras High Court R Venkatesan, who also took part in the protest, pointed out that now is a good time to protest as candidates are out seeking votes. “We want them to make a promise to look into the matter. The lake is in a pathetic condition and groundwater level is abysmal.”

“I have been living here for the past 35 years. In the past, the lake was spread from the Adambakkam police station to NGO Colony, and during rainy days, the lake would be brimming with water and it was a sight to behold. But sadly, it started shrinking first in the 80s, but not to this extent,” said another concerned resident, S Umamaheswaran.

Naomi N