CHENNAI: The Korattur lake, one of the biggest in the city’s western parts, has turned into a haven for ganja peddlers, drug addicts and tipplers.
While some encroachments remain – the walls of a demolished structure are yet to be removed – the lack of a fence around the water body, drastically reduced in size, has allowed free access to all and sundry, say residents of the area.
Tipplers enter the area after dark fearlessly, thanks to the absence of lighting, and after partying through the night, leave the area in a mess of broken liquor bottles and plastic cartons, says Korattur Aeri Padhukappu Makkal Iyakkam (KAPMI) founder S Sekharan. The area within the yet-to-be-knocked-down walls of a building demolished two years ago serves a bar for tipplers and a den for drug addicts, he says. Even ganja peddlers use the spot to strike deals or supply customers, he adds, he adds, pointing out that it has become a matter of concern for conservationists.
The remedy, says Sekharan, is to build a fence around the lake premises, strengthen the existing bunds and increase the check dam height to retain water in the water spread area of the lake that is fast drying up. The lack of a proper bund along the lake’s boundary is leading to new encroachments, he said, in an appeal to the public works department (PWD) authorities.
The PWD had laid a 3-km-long footpath along the lake, but walkers and joggers are hesitant to use it as it is covered with cow dung in many parts, he said.
In response the various, a senior PWD official said the wall of the building demolished two years ago would soon be brought down.
The PWD had complained to the jurisdictional police regarding tipplers and ganja peddlers, but the law enforcers were unable to spare time to take action as they were preoccupied with work for the April 6 state assembly election, he said.
With the model code of conduct for the elections in place since February 26, when the Election Commission of India (ECI) issued the notification, taking up work such as raising bunds or erecting fences has not been possible, the official added.