Neglected smaller ponds get life at Ambattur

Chennai: The government has been quite vocal about desilting waterbodies that provide drinking water to citizens. With emphasis given to bigger lakes, smaller ones and canals have been neglected, say residents.

However, Ambattur Waterbodies Protection Movement (AWPM) has been striving hard to ensure that even arterial lakes and ponds get the same treatment as the bigger ones.

Recently, they took up the desilting work of Odai kulam or Siva Vishnu temple pond, as it commonly is known these days. The pond is one of the many waterbodies that connect Ambattur lake with Korattur lake.

Speaking about the work, Nedumaran, co-ordinator of AWPM said, “The pond has been struggling with issues for quite some time now. We just brought it back to life and hopefully, it will serve its purpose well.”

According to sources, the pond is older than the temple present there, which was constructed around 50 years ago. However, the dispute is that the pond has been converted into open space reservation (OSR) facility, meaning it might be used for other purposes like constructing a park, etc.

When the work started, it had faced hurdles from authorities too. However, when they learnt that higher officials had duly granted permission, things progressed smoothly, said the activists. They also added that the pond comes under the storm water drain division, rather than the Metrowater, making matters worse.

“We worked tirelessly for three days, cleaning, desilting and strengthening the bunds. We deepened the pond by three feet, with the middle portion deepened by an additional two feet. But before work could start, we had to clear huge loads of plastic waste and garbage in general from the place, apart from plants and weeds,” said Nedumaran.

Thankfully, the work was government funded through a special scheme, said members of AWPM and added that the need of the hour is to save waterbodies in and around Ambattur. The work also attracted residents from around the pond in Ambattur, with 20 persons putting in their effort to get the work going.

Residents had one request to the government – to desilt and rebuild all the canals and link reservoirs like they used to be in the early days. Hopefully, the government sits up and takes notice.

Photos: H BOBBY DERIN

Praveen Kumar S