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For Mogappair's Mangal Eri, redemption at last

Swahilya

Ambattur Municipality sets in motion process to reclaim degraded water body



HELL FOR HUMANS, HEAVEN FOR BUFFALOES: Buffaloes graze lazily on the dry bed of Mangal lake near Mogappair. — Photo: Vino John

CHENNAI: Several hundred years ago, Mangal Eri in Mogappair was a placid lake used by the people of the area. On its banks stood the Achalathamman temple, housing the guardian deity of Mogappair village. Today, the temple still stands, but the lake is a symbol of degradation with muddy, shallow pits of water on the dry lakebed.

"The degradation of the lake began when the waste water from the Ambattur Industrial Estate was let into it," says a resident. "Even 40 years ago, a well in the lake had drinking water in it, but today the sewage has even spoilt the ground water."

Ward 36 Councillor of Ambattur Municipality, C.V. Ranjan, said that the situation would soon change with the Ambattur Municipality issuing a tender for Rs. 20 lakhs and sanctioning the work order for developing the lake.

In keeping with Chief Minister Jayalalitha's announcement of protecting water bodies and using them for rainwater harvesting, the lake will soon get a compound wall around its 30-acre area. Plans are also being drawn up to erect a water tank in the centre of the lake, surrounded by greenery and walking space.

"Now that the byelections are over, the work is soon expected to begin and once begun, it is expected to be completed in around six to seven months time," Mr. Ranjan said.

After work is completed, it will also help recharge the groundwater for surrounding areas.

One major obstacle to cleaning up the lake is the removal of encroachments which has cropped up on its banks, especially around the Achalathamman Temple.

Residents said that the Mogappair area suffers from incomplete underground drainage facilities and lack of piped drinking water lines.

"Water is still supplied in tankers every week," says a housewife.

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