Restoration of the Villivakkam lake has been delayed, with the Chennai Corporation having completed only 40% of the work.
The restoration work, which was inaugurated by Local Administration Minister S.P. Velumani a year ago, was progressing very slowly, complained residents. The civic body, however, said it hoped to complete initial earth work before the monsoon set in this year. A visit to the site showed several exacavators and heavy vehicles removing large quantities of silt accummulated in the lake over the years.
The lake, which belonged to the Chennai Metrowater Supply and Sewerage Board (CMWSSB), is located near the Padi flyover. It acted as a buffer to prevent flooding of nearby residential colonies, including Sidco Nagar. Over the years, poor maintenance of the lake and dumping of debris resulted in Sidco Nagarnearby areas getting submerged in rainwater during the 2015 floods.
The Corporation identified the lake for rejuvenation under the Smart City Mission at a cost of ₹16 crore. Villivakkam lake, spread over 36.50 acres, was to be restored to the extent of around 25 acres, with the remaining 11.50 acres to be retained by Metrowater.
A senior Corporation official told The Hindu that compound wall work had been completed, while the plan was to complete removal of silt formation and debris by the beginning of June. The deepening of the lake for a length of four metres and bund formation were at an advanced stage, he added.
The Corporation official, when asked about the reason for the delay, said silt removal initially looked simple, but had turned out to be an arduous task. The civic body has been removing silt and debris for more than six months. He said: “Once debris removal is over, earth work for the lake would start and will be completed before the onset of monsoon to help rainwater flow into it.”
The lake is set to have amenities like open auditorium, Aavin parlour, multipurpose lawn and a lot of greenery around, with a park. The civic body plans to install a Floating Wetland System and a geo-cell membrane layer to maintain water quality.
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