The lake in our Padur neighbourhood of OMR is drying up. Nay, it is being killed willfully; systematically abused, by people for bathing, cleaning their vehicles, including heavy duty trucks, mining sand from lake bed, and turning lakeside a dumping yard for household, and building construction debris.
In the past five months, since March last when OMR Greens visited the lake last, its water level has receded to floor level in several places. Yesterday (Aug.4) Six of us - Gopalan R, Srinivasan, Sridhar P S, Rajaram, Arun Pillai and I - made a re-visit, only to be deeply disappointed.
The man-made ravage we witnessed on virtually a dry lake bed was way beyond our worst fears. Sand mining mafia has hacked up the lake bed into dug-outs. Property builders have dumped construction debris all along the lakeside. A dense outgrowth of thorny karuvelam is used as open toilet. Karuvelam is considered among the worst of the species harming environment. Clearing the surroundings of the lake of the karuvelam outgrowth appears an impossible task. Extensive litter of construction debris, apparently not just from Padur neighbourhood, but brought from far out on OMR, is a fresh lakeside development that was not evident, not so extensively at any rate, five months back during OMR Greens last visit.
Irony is that OMR Greens were counting on participation of property developers on OMR in our plan for Padur Lake conservation. Here we see developers dumping their debris on the lakeside.Sand mining the lake bed appears to have developed into a thriving business, which cannot go on without endorsement by unscrupulous elements in local panchayat.The sand-miners find it convenient to wash their trucks in the receding lake water.
That Padur Lake serves as the prime drinking water source for an ever increasing population of Padur and its OMR neighbourhood make lake conservation imperative. The drinking water scheme implemented with ADB loan of Rs.126 lakhs not so long ago would soon go waste if Padur and other OMR residents do not raise their voice to put an end to the reckless abuse of Padur Lake.
Meanwhile, we heard from Mr Sureshkumar of V-R Volunteers about their plan. Mr Kumar, a software professional, says his group are in touch with consultant Dr Umashankar who has counselled the authorities in respect of conservation of water bodies, notably Periyakulam lake in Coimbatore. A group from V-R Volunteers led by Mr Kumar is expected to visit Padur Lake this weekend.