The state government's efforts to turn the Retteri, Korattur and Ambattur lakes into eco-tourism spots have been met with suspicion from residents who complain that restoration projects taken up in the past have done nothing to bring the water bodies back to life. After spending about Rs 30 crore to revive the three lakes in 2015, PWD began work on restoring the water bodies at Rs 13 crore last year.
As part of the restoration project, PWD began work a year ago on strengthening the bund and constructing a walkway along the 300-acre Retteri lake. Officials said work is nearing completion but is being hampered by encroachments and illegal inflow of sewage into the lake. Restoration work at Korattur lake is set to be taken up next.
The Ambattur, Korattur and Retteri lakes have a combined capacity of 0.5 TMC (thousand million cubic feet), which is enough to serve the city's drinking water needs for 15 days. But Metro water gave up the idea of tapping these lakes as they were infested with sewage.
S Sekharan of Korattur Eri Pathugappu Makkal Iyakkam said, "The 600-acre Korattur lake has a circumference of about 10km. PWD officials are only taking up restoration work on the eastern side of the lake for a stretch of 2-3km. All other sides of the lake have been encroached on."
The inflow of toxic waste, released from the nearby Aavin milk factory and industries, into the Korattur lake was stopped last December following the orders of National Green Tribunal. "The Korattur lake needs to be deepened by at least 2 feet to remove the toxic waste residue," said Sekharan.