Plight of tanks in Velacheri reflects depleting ground water levels

Chennai: If one has to see how hard the summer is, just take a look at the Dhandeeswarar temple tank. With the onset of summer, the water in the tank has receded.

Kumararaja of Annai Indira Nagar Residents’ Welfare Association said, “In the past many years, we have not seen the tank empty like this during the summer. This is the first time in 15 years.” The tank going dry is a reflection of the depleting ground water level in the neighbourhood, he added.

The 1,000-year-old Dhandeeswarar temple tank is nearly 25 feet with the inner well running 30-feet deep. The tank was desilted and revived in 2003, but got completely dried up in 2004. Kumararaja along with former Councilor V Shankar and several other like-minded people came together and cleaned the tank. Even some builders joined hands with them. The tank subsequently got filled up during the rains that year and the next. “This time, there has been no summer rain. We are pinning our hopes on showers in the coming months,” he said.

Not just this one, many temple tanks at Velacheri are lying abandoned. N Damotharan of Kattabomman Nanbargal Narpani Sangam – a social service group which took part in cleaning Dhandeeswarar temple tank – said, “The Nattar Kuttai tank, also known as Vannan Kuttai tank, is in an even more pitiable condition, with lot of garbage being dumped into it everyday. Also, the Velacheri lake has dried up and is highly polluted. We want to know what steps the government is taking to save it? It’s high time that authorities take measures to preserve our reservoirs.”

Naomi N