Coimbatore’s Public Wetlands go Private ?

Dear nature enthusiasts,

Here is the proceedings of the Rejuvenation of Tanks in Coimbatore Corporation limits ( Second meeting) held on 26, October, 2010

Note: This record might be Green biased because it is released without any certification from the Corporation officials who conducted the meetings. Official minutes are expected to be circulated by the Corporation. Since all the NGO’s spoke against the proposal, there is doubt about the minutes getting released. Even after 8 months (as on July 1, 2011) minutes not released.

Rakshna ( William Scotz)

Cottages, Ayurvedic Villages, Eco Resort, Hotel, Environment friendly Villages, Leisure tourism and restaurants will be promoted in the lakes in compliance with Bio diversity and holistic approach.

We can have water surfing, water skiing, rope walk, musical garden and Bird’s park in Ukkadam Big Tank.

Lakes to be maintained in the Public Private Partnership (PPP) system as Build Operate and Transfer Scheme.

Restoration of lakes to be done at a cost of Rs.66 crores. Resettlement of encroachers will be offered 3,500 huts.

Response to the presentation:

All of the Public/NGO’s present in the hall opined that Commercial activities should not be carried out in Corporation lakes.


Globally threatened birds are coming to Coimbatore tanks. Hence Conservation is important that Tourism. We do not need caged birds in a Bird’s Park.
Soon Almondz (proposal team) replied, “Endemic birds from Nilgiris will benefit of this”. Immediately Gunasekaran replied, “No forest bird will come to your Bird’s park. Talk only about Water Birds”.
These proposals are against the Wetland regulations laid out by the Ministry of Environment and Forests.

Suraj: Let us demarcate the boundaries clearly first. We need to take care of the fish in the pond. Because of pollution, they also turn poisonous. This will affect the food chain including birds and humans. Coimbatore Hospitals are receiving lots of patients with intestinal disorders. The problem is related to consumption of polluted fish. The fish caught from these tanks have residual contaminants.

Vanitha Mohan ( Managing Trustee, Siruthuli):

Coimbatore is a highly depleted place. We should ensure clean ground water. We should not commercialise the tanks. We should only conserve them. We will sit and discuss on improving its quality.

C.R.Jayaprakash ( NWEA):

Research works have been published in International Journals saying that Fish, Tadpoles, Earth Worms and even Human DNA’s are affected in Noyyal basin. Hence let us think of cleaning the pollution first.

Migratory birds are an international issue. Let us not disturb those winged visitors by introducing Boat rides, Rope cars, Resorts, Spa’s.

The proposal is prepared in a Commercial angle. No importance is given for Conservation.

Suggestions from local organisations like SACON, WWF, WCS should be considered.

Elangovan ( Executive Engineer, PWD):

Our waterbodies are tanks, not lakes. They were developed artificially to control flood, recharge ground water system, Ecology, Aesthetics and Irrigation.
Now there is an issue of Development v/s Conservation. Commercialising these tanks is committing suicide.
What are we going to do with the effluents entering from Selvapuram and Telungupalayam?
This analysis is done in an unscientific way.
If it is a problem better hand it over back to PWD.

Kalidasan (OSAI):

We felt happy when lakes were handed over to Corporation. Now Corporation handing over the lakes to some Private companies creates distrust. Please believe in local agencies, not MNC’s. Let us not approach it in a commercial angle.

Vazhukkupparai Balu (Farmers Association):

“We want to know how many tanks are for irrigation”. Soon Corporation Commissioner Anshul Mishra replied, “ Only Singanallur”.
Balu continued: Let us clean the channels.
We know where will this amusement boat rides in our tanks will lead to. What is happening in Singanallur? What happened to the boat house there. It is a sheer waste of money.
These schemes are okay for the rich, but not for farmers. Don’t we have anyone here to give proposal. Why MNC’s?
Punishing offenders is vital to control pollution. Demarcate boundaries, evict encroachments.

Sulthana ( Salim Ali Naturalists Forum):

Should we need amusement at the cost of water source ? Let us say no to commercialisation.

Bharathidasan ( Arulagam):

Waterline is lifeline. It is not an entertainment affair.

Sivakumar ( NWEA):

Let us do a biodiversity report. We should go for an Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA).

K.Mohanraj ( Save Coimbatore Lakes):

Proposal should be drafted in consultation with SACON, TNAU, Bharathiar University, PWD, Forestry, Fisheries Dept., and research institutes in Coimbatore. Let us not blindly bank on an MNC.

Nowhere in India so many lakes have been converted into such recreational parks at a stretch. They have done only in single lakes. Here it is a chain of lakes. Hence the disturbance created will have big impacts.
Sign boards should be erected telling the importance of these wetlands.
The bunds should not pave way for unnecessary movement of vehicles to neighboring areas.

D.Balasundaram ( CBE Corporation City Technical Advisory Group):

Valankulam and Singanallur are highly polluted. I don’t think any recreation can be achieved there.

Saleem ( Environmental Conservation Group):

When we have so many involved persons in Coimbatore, why should we go for outsiders. Let us stop effluents. Form Committees. Conduct frequent meetings.

Mayilsamy, Project Officer, Siruthuli:

Of the Rs.127 Crores, only 50 % will be spent on rejuvenating the tanks. The rest will be spent on improving the Sanganur Canal.

Anshul Mishra - Commissioner, Coimbatore Corporation:

This project was envisaged as City Development Plan in JNNURM scheme at a cost of Rs.127 Crores.

Coimbatore Corporation Budget is only Rs.350 Crore. For any JNNURM scheme to be implemented, we need to share 30 % of the money.

For the Rs.700 – 800 Crore worth schemes,we are in need of money. Hence no fund for rejuvenation of tanks. So we sought a proposal.

We will definitely go by government regulations. We cannot violate anything. I am not aware about SACON in Coimbatore.

Every one’s aim is to make this place clean and beautiful, without disturbing the environment. Our problem is funds.

Two things can be done immediately. Encroachment dwellers from Ukkadam and Amman Kulam to be shifted to Multi storied buildings is for sure.

Three Sewage Treatment Plants to be installed so that treated water can be re used.

We are still exploring the possibilities of getting more funds.

Maintaining the tanks is a big issue. That is why we thought of Public – Private – Partnership Scheme. If things are not favorable, we will try alternative options also.
We are going for eco friendly models only. We want sustainable development without pollution.
We will go and see the Parks maintained in other parts of the country and take into account all details. We seek investment for maintenance. If Industries are willing to adopt the tanks they are welcome.

Building wastes shall be henceforth dumped in closed quarries of Madukkarai.

The New Indian Express


The Hindu 




 The Times of India


Big Question which needs to be addressed:

All the tanks which are planned for rejuvenation gets feed from Noyyal river. But why should the Corporation clean/improve Sanganur Canal, which only feeds Singanallur. Since Noyyal is highly polluted and cleaning it is a big task, Sanganur is preferred. Sanganur canal gets feeding from Thadagam Valley during rains. Since it gets cleansed by wild streams, there is no need to clean it now. Instead, Noyyal, which runs through the city can be cleaned.


Initial invitation (Pre event)

We all know that Coimbatore grew up because of its salubrious climate and sweet Siruvani water.

Our fore fathers had worked hard and created a great Wetland Eco system in the form of Noyyal river side Tanks to supplement the natural environment. Our generation has almost killed them by polluting it to the core. Even the efforts taken by few NGO’s to clean them is turning waste because of pollution and encroachments.

Now with JNRUMM funds pouring in from the Central Government, Corporation is examining a proposal from Multi National Companies (MNC) to manage these tanks.

Can’t the responsible Citizens and Officials maintain these tanks on our own? Should we go for a Build, Operate and Transfer (BOT) scheme, that too suggested by foreign companies?

Already a meeting was conducted and minutes drafted with poor public participation. Next meeting is conducted at Coimbatore Corporation Office on Tuesday, 11 AM ( 26 -10 -2010).

It is open for public. Please be present there,because

Greaty civilisations collapsed because they failed to protect the most precious resource  - “Water”.


Let us discuss For or against Privatisation and Globalisation of Coimbatore’s once Heritage Wetlands now treated as Wastelands.

The New Indian Express predicts it right

The New Indian Express predicts it right

Here is the letter of information from Coimbatore Corporation Commissioner and the minutes of the first meeting.

Meeting called for

Thiru. Anshul Mishra, I.A.S.,
Coimbatore Corporation,
Coimbatore – 641 001.
Phone:+91-422 2396026
Fax:+91-422 2390167
E-mail:[email protected]

All CTAG / CVTC members
All NGOs
and Managing Trust of Siruthuli, Coimbatore.

ROC No: 13090/06/JN5 Dated: 18.10.2010
Sub: Coimbatore City Municipal Corporation – JNNURM Scheme – Rejuvenation of Water Bodies – minutes communicated and convening of Power Point Presentation by the consultant at 11.00 am on 26.10.10 – Intimation of – regarding.

Ref: E-mail received from Deputy Manager, TNUIFSL dated 14.10.10.

A copy of the minutes of the Public consultation meeting for “Consultancy Assignment for transaction advisors for renovation and improvements of eight water bodies of develop a model through BOT for Coimbatore Corporation” held on 14.08.2010 at 11.30 am at the conference hall of Coimbatore Corporation is enclosed for your information.
The copy of the above minutes were sent to the consultant through TNUIFSL for carrying out necessary modification and corrections and a meeting has been fixed on 26.10.10 at 11.00 am in the Corporation main office for making necessary Power Point Presentation by the consultant, after incorporation of all the suggestions and modifications required to be incorporated as discussed during the meeting.

Coimbatore Corporation


Participants :

Worhsipful Mayor Thiru. Venkatachalam
Thiru. P.Umanath, IAS, Coimbatore, District Collector
Thiru. Anshul Mishra, IAS, Commissioner, Coimbatore Corporation
Thiru. K. Boopathy, SE, Coimbatore Corporation
Thiru. D. Selva Pandian, Asst. Vice President, TNUIFSL
Thiru. U. Vijayaraghavan, Deputy Manager, TNUIFSL
Tmt Vanitha Mohan, Siruthuli Trustee
Thiru. Myilsamy, Siruthuli Trustee
Thiru. Nitin Suri, AVP (IA),Almondz Global Securities Ltd.,
Thiru. Venkateswaran, Regional Head, Almondz Global Securities Ltd.,
Thiru. Saikat De, DGM,Scott Wilson India Pvt. Ltd.,
Thiru. Shakti Prakash, Principal Consultant, Scott Wilson India Pvt. Ltd.,
Thiru. N. Krishna Kumar, RAAC Member, Coimbatore
Corporation Officials
Indian Muslim League Member
Vidudhalai Siruthaigal Eyakkam Members
Mr K Mohanraj, Environment
Mr. S. Venkatraman, City Volunteer, SLD Human Rights Development & Welfare Association

At the Outset, the Commissioner, Coimbatore Municipal Corporation welcomed the Worshipful Mayor, Collector Coimbatore District, Other Officials, Mrs. Vanitha Mohan, Siruthuli Trustee, NGO’s, CTAG Members, RAAC Members, Representatives from various political parties, others and all participants.

Commissioner described about the project, its scope of work, purpose and intention of the meeting.  And, then the consultants were asked to proceed with their detailed presentation on the project.

The consultants explained about the scope of their assignment and the need for the project.  Further, it was explained that the  analysis were based on the existing site conditions, location, dimension, capacity and size of water tank and proximity to the city and its residents. Also the consultants explained that various options depicted for the tanks are only tentative and subject to change based on this meeting and in consultation with the officials of Coimbatore Corporation.

It was explained by the officials / consultants in the meeting that the tanks will be restored and the other infrastructure shall be accommodated without any reduction in the water holding area.

The consultants informed that the reports has been prepared based on the data collected and information given by the Corporation and the study analyzed on the following factors like:

(a)Higher disposable income
(b)Nuclear family & Cosmopolitan society
(c)Growing population
(d)Non-availability of integrated recreational facilities
(e)Emerging image of the city as a Educational Hub
(f)To accommodate leisure and recreational facilities and facilities

The consultants had presented their concepts / options pertaining to each water tank with different options as below:

1.Singanallur Tank
Health resorts / village
Ayurvedic village – Horticultural and Herbal Garden
Eco resort

2.Coimbatore Big Tank
Urban Hut / Central Community District (Yoga, Exercise)
Integrated Water Sport complex (since it is a big water body, Boat races are recommended)
Recreational park

3.Selvampathy / Kumaraswami Tank
Urban Plaza / Water Front arena
Cultural Tourism / Cultural village / Heritage exhibition
Lake side promenade (Fishing plot and artificial water falls can be organized) 

4.Narasampathi & Krishnampathi Tank
Urban Educational Park (there is huge demand for organized convention)
Theme Park (Musical garden and Musical Fountain)
Birds park (Since the site is located near the wildlife sanctuary and also it is near the TN Agricultural University)

5.Selvachinthamani & Valankulam Tank
It was stated that there was no potential land available for any commercial development.  If at all any recreational development, it should be considered as environment friendly. 

The consultants stated the existing condition of the lake and details of works to be carried out for restoration of water bodies shall be provided in the subsequent reports.

The District Collector questioned that whether this type of land use fits into our regulatory and legal frame work in conjunction with the Supreme Court order relating to water bodies. Whether the consultants have studied land classification of this location, and whether they can be developed.  And Collector also enquired about the cost of the project.  Further the Collector insisted that the Hon’ble Supreme court order must be taken into consideration.  The land classified as Water body shall not be used for any other purpose, accordingly the consultants has to design the project under PPP mode. Consultants agreed to review the report in accordance with the Supreme Court verdict vis a vis the water bodies lodgement and also requested for a copy of the ruling from the Corporation.  Corporation agreed to provide the consultants the same.  Also regarding the cost, consultants explained that the details of costing will be provided in the next stage of the assignment.

And also insisted that all tanks shall be inter linked and the assignment has to  address the actual cause of contamination occurring in the tanks.

The Collector said the cost of compensation for affected families to be mentioned and also the consultant has to suggest the Resettlement and Rehabilitation plan for those affected.

The Collector stated that the consultants has to state very clearly in their report Whether these people will be rehabilitated in the land as part of the project or not.  Or it is a stand alone, also state whether the Corporation can take up this project on its own.

The suggestion for Boating and children play areas in water bodies can be considered.

Mr Mohanraj, Environment activist expressed his opinion, Pelican birds are coming to the Singanallur tank.  Local migrated birds are also coming.  They are residing here 7-8 months and using all tanks.  Hence the activities to be carried out in the lake should not disturb their life.  The suggestion shall be to protect the birds life and safety of the birds.

Mr Mayilsamy (Siruthuli) explained that in Coimbatore   big tank gets water and from there it is going to Valankulam.  Singanallur is getting water from Singanallur Anaikattu.  The main source of water depends on Noyyal river front only. The source of water from river Noyyal is very crucial, hence the source of water to be protected and it should not be polluted. The necessary protection measures to be identified. There is no space for extension outside the tank area, accordingly the consultants design their proposed activities within the available land.  The encroachments is to be removed.

RAAC insisted for Desilting and deepening of the water bodies to increase the water storage capacity.

Muslim League Member also suggest that in Ukkadam Big Tank, boating facility can be considered.  Mixing of drainage water and polluted water with Nitrate and phosphorus should be removed / stopped. During rainy season, the tank over flows. The appropriate advise to be given by the consultants.  Electric fencing to be put up for safety measure.  The bund’s can be widened and walkers path can be developed.  The algae to be removed which already Siruthuli has done in the past. It can be developed as a very good recreational area.

CTAG members said that Ayurvedic treatment and Nature Cure Centre may also be established.  Walkers space to be provided around the lakes.

Members from Viduthalai Siruthaikal Eyakkam insisted that for more than 80-100 years, people are living in that area.  No remedy is given to that people.  The proper remedial measures to be provided to the poor people those who are all living in the area.

RAAC member informed that the garbages are not cleared in Ukkadam.  So all the garbages flown and went inside the tanks. The step to be taken immediately for removal of garbage.

The Collector replied that there is a proposal to construct a compound wall or guard in that area.

Mr. Mohanraj, Environment Activist said that if water bodies should not be occupied, if so, this proposal will be considered.

The Mayor replied that this is a discussion, and sharing views for this proposal, with out affecting the water bodies the proposal will be designed by the consultants.

The Commissioner also explained that in places like Mumbai and Bangalore, the project had been developed with out affecting any damages to existing water bodies successfully on a PPP model. Similar approach may be adopted by the consultant for all the eight water bodies thereby taking care to see that the existing water spread area as well as storage capacity is no way affected. It should also be ensured that the environment and ecology aspects are duly considered for this project.

The Collector also emphasized that the all steps will be taken up to safe guard water bodies.

Mr. Mohanraj, Environment Activist said that Valankulam was very big. Now, Bus Depot, EB Station and all sorts of accommodation have come up.  Now, building cottages by Govt. will give a wrong message among the people.

Environment activists said that they will be providing with a alternative proposal / options.  Collector / commissioner welcomed and said they are open to receive various options and proposals.

Other issues like clearing of debris in and around the water bodies, way forward for clearing the debris, banning of plastics, conserving and saving the Noyyal river water flowing, since it is overflowing once in a year, Sewerage inlets in Krishnampathi tank, involvement of M/s. Siruthuli in the process, marking of the boundaries of the Tanks, creating awareness, etc., were discussed during the meeting.

Accordingly, the Commissioner thanked all the participants for providing useful inputs and asked the consultant to submit the report after incorporating the above comments and suggestions.

Coimbatore Corporation.


If you do not have time to attend the meeting, please send your thoughts on this. We will take it up to the authorities.


  1. Martin Raja said,

    October 25, 2010 @ 7:54 pm

    Yes we have our responsibility to save the water bodies
    I will inform all the press.


  2. Indulekha said,

    October 25, 2010 @ 8:00 pm

    Letter to the Editor _ The New Indian Express, Coimbatore.

    CLEAN UP VALANKULAM LAKE – Coimbatore, Tamil Nadu
    “In an age when man has forgotten his origin and is blind even to his most essential needs for survival, water along with other resources has become the victim of his indifference”
    The Valankulam Lake is situated on Trichy road near Sungam, Coimbatore. The lake is now the breeding ground for mosquitoes and this is due to the unchecked growth of water Hyacinth. This lake was also the home to Little Grebes and Purple Moorhen. We only ask the residents of Coimbatore not to dump construction wastes and other materials on the bund of the lake. We request the local authorities and conservation organizations like ‘Siruthuli’ and ‘Osai’ to take up the cause. Almost all the schools and colleges have an Eco-Club. These clubs can also be involved in the cleaning up process which would also involve educating the residents around the lake not to discharge effluence and to reduce pollution of a water body in Coimbatore.
    Great civilizations fell because they failed to protect the most precious resource “Water”.


    Sri Krishna College of Engineering and Technology,
    School Of Management,
    [email protected]

  3. Kannan.V said,

    October 27, 2010 @ 2:16 pm

    Dear Sir,

    I have visited many of these wetlands located in Coimbatore during my
    short stint at Coimbatore with Mr. Kumanan and Dr. Gunasekaran while I
    was with CBE Forest division as a Biologist.

    The fact is that many these wetlands were infested with Hypenea and
    other aquatic weeds with large amount of drainage outlets coming into
    the wetlands. I expressed this concern with fellow friends. Later
    there was a news about dumping of concreate wastes in the wetlands and
    now this news.

    We do not have well defined policy for wetland conservation in India
    and are in nascent stage. And the fact is that managing wetlands is
    quite difficult rather than forests as the human settlements surround
    to it and are used for various purposes right from drinking to

    For any green governence (be it the CBE Corporation or the TN
    Government) the green governence approach is needed now and we as
    individuals have to welcome this initiative of involving corporates in
    the activites. I persume these recreational junctions will not be a
    main threat to the birds neither these were cleaned at least to make
    available for public use.

    Wildlife is in another way called recreational tourism. And the birds
    you have mentioned here are adaptable species for human tolerance.

    Human and Painted Stork co-existence

    Spot-billed Pelican and human co-existence

    in souther India is well known. And if you see the Ukkadam Tank the
    distance between the Bus Station and the market crowd is almost at the
    border of it in which you can see many of the waterbirds.

    I hope the conservationists, birdwatchers, wetland scientists,
    individuals or public in social activities can join together to make a
    suggestion plan for the Corporation and the involving MNC.

    “The real estate thing has to be stopped as we all know there first
    fill with waste and then with red soil latter made into real estates”
    Other activites for human benefit of natural resources with wise use
    can always be welcomed.

    The wildlife and the people are certinely interwined.

    I wished I want to attend for the discussion but not able to make it.

    Hence sending my opinions

    Best wishes for good knowledge exchange,

    V. Kannan

  4. Raj Kumar said,

    November 7, 2010 @ 11:04 am

    Yes we all must join together, First let Corporation do the needs for cutted trees on behalf of road expansion / Widening.If this people have guts first clean up the huts in tanks around the coimbatore. I thing this Scheme is not for the people of Coimbatore but for Elected and Governing Coimbatore people.

  5. Shalini said,

    November 8, 2010 @ 5:39 pm

    Its not the greens coming in the way of amusement, its amusement hindering in greens.
    The wildlife should be the first priority before the amusement and the huge calculation of the commercial profits.
    Well, if it’s too much of expectation, then the MNC’s can go ahead, but with a guarentee that if not in the same place, somewhere else the local wildlife should be sheltered and under the same ecological condition.

  6. V.G.Chandrasekaran said,

    November 8, 2010 @ 6:22 pm

    Dear sir
    It is well known that our officials and elected representatives doesn’t has any awareness or education on environmental issues.In Coimbatore not only the tanks which are in consideration for rejuvenation by the corporation but tanks,natural ponds,streams whatever it is and where ever it is the condition of them is very worst and encroached.
    For example other than Sanganur odai Thannasikovil pallam near N.G.G.O colony it is a dumping yard for the local bodies waste but once it is a live stream.Another example is the natural pond in Vellakinar it is supplied by the Chinnavadampatti canal project and help to rejuvenate the underground water table but now it is a collection and storage area for the near by Thudiyalur panchayat untreated sewage water and pollute the surrounding area.Very sad fact is the PWD authorities knew its fate and as a common man we tolerate the Ganesh idol immersion in that pond by filling fresh water into it.
    So it is unwise to depend on our officials and elected representatives to do the corrective action in long term basis at the same time the true NGOs should focus not only in corporation area but also around the Coimbatore.

    Thank you


  7. R.Kannan, PHCC said,

    November 8, 2010 @ 9:16 pm

    Dear Shri.Jayaprakash

    Thanks for the update about the Kovai TANKS and the greed for money ; entertainment..

    will write or meet you soon for further discussions on the subject

    with best regards
    R.Kannan, Palni Hills Conservation Committee.

  8. Thirumeni said,

    November 9, 2010 @ 5:37 pm

    Already the The Environment Activists are in oneline with single Motto ” To Save the Lakes ” Apart from this Vigilance is most required.


  9. V. Kannan said,

    November 9, 2010 @ 9:38 pm

    Thanks for sending the minutes of the meeting.

    V. Kannan.

  10. M.Devendraraj said,

    November 11, 2010 @ 7:19 pm

    Thanks for sending useful information Sir…Now its the time to join us for agitating against influence of private agencies in the water bodies…

  11. Arun akshminarayanan said,

    November 11, 2010 @ 9:40 pm

    Dear Jayaprakash,

    Please let me know in advance about such meetings thru osai email group.  I will try to attend.

    Most of the countries now have green parties and green politicians.  I know that they may not be doing that well right now.  But the idea is still young.

    We should try to convince politicians that there are a lot of green votes that can be captured.  This way, we can bring green issues into politics.  With the state elections coming up soon, we should look at this angle.  how many people can we convince to petition their local political representative?  we can use online social forums, emails, sms, etc. for this.

    We should look at establishing local volunteer neighborhood watch groups to prevent dumping of waste into water bodies.  Photographic evidence with vehicle number plate should be recorded and complaint lodged.  It is not enough if a quarry is earmarked for dumping.  Time and diesel cost will tempt people to dump it in the water bodies.  Also, what is the penalty for such an offense?  I do not know.  Does anybody know?  who do we lodge a complaint with?



  12. Dr.A.J.T.John Singh said,

    December 8, 2010 @ 9:49 pm

    Dr. A.J.T Johnsingh
    “Ajay A Desai, WWF, Senior Researcher, NBR”
    Mon, Nov 22, 2010 at 10:44 AM

    Re: Details of the Free nature camp for CBE school kids and SACON -save CBE tanks meet

    Excellent Jayaprakash. What you are doing is extremely valuable.
    A.J.T. Johnsingh

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