Citizen groups are reclaiming Chennai’s water bodies

It used to be a flat, nondescript plot of land, identified only by the nearby temple. But in a span of less than a week, it has become a reservoir, complete with varying levels going down to a depth of nearly 30 feet and a four-feet-high bund around it to keep pollutants at bay. The newly revived temple tank by Gangai Amman Koil in Karukku, Korattur, is one of seven in the city to have been made monsoon-ready by Ambattur Water Bodies Conservation Group, an apolitical collective of Chennai citizens.

Be it lakes, ponds or tanks, reservoir restoration projects are underway in full swing in different neighbourhoods of Chennai, from Velachery and Perambur to Ambattur. A number of these initiatives seem to be purely citizen-led, though they have roped in some NGOs for expertise, and approached the civic administration for support.

Gangai Amman Koil tank, Karukku

For instance, SP Nedumaran, one of the founding members of Ambattur Water Bodies Protection Group, explains, “JCB machines charge up to ?8,000 a day, and we need the machine for at least three to four days, depending on the size of the tank or lake. There is only so much money we can spend from our own pockets.” So the group, which has around 250 members, reached out to acquaintances and friends : environmentalists, PWD officials, people in the State Government... “ SP Velumani, Minister for Local Administration provided this JCB to us,” he adds, beckoning to the large whirring machine behind him, scooping up earth to deepen the tank.Read more

Source web page: The Hindu

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