Chennai, March 3: With just a week left for the model code of conduct to come into force before the state elections, Chief Minister Jayalalithaa is busy inaugurating her governments’ schemes and projects.
The Chief Minister on Saturday inaugurated the Eco Park at Chetpet Lake from the Secretariat itself through a video conference. According to Park Manager, K. Ravichandaran, the park is a 16-acre facility that has been built at a cost of Rs. 42 crore.
“The Chetpet Lake earlier had overgrown vegetation and was used by the nearby slum-dwellers as a dumpster. It has now been given a complete makeover,” said Ravichandaran.
The entry fee to the Eco Park is Rs. 25 and Rs. 10 for adults and children respectively. Boating for 30 minutes costs Rs. 50 and visitors have to shell Rs. 300 for angling in the lake.
The park presently has eight paddle boats and six rowing boats. Visitors are made to wear life jackets before they go boating. “The initial response has been really good,” said Ravichandaran, who hopes more people would be attracted to the park once the word spreads.
“It’s a relief that a water body and a park have been developed just before summer sets in,” said Nivedha Menon, a third-year MBBS student at Government Kilpauk Medical College, after she and her friends took a paddle boat ride.
The fishing area which is segregated from the boating area can accommodate close to thirty anglers. “The anglers club has been functional in this lake since 1940. We now have trainers who can teach enthusiasts on how to catch fishes,” added Ravichandaran.
The park has a 1.5 km long jogging track for morning walkers and those willing to use the walkway regularly can purchase a monthly pass for Rs. 200 or a yearly pass for Rs. 2,000.
“Earlier we used to go to Nehru Park for walks, but the park has been closed for metro rail construction. Provision of jogging tracks in Chetpet Lake is good news for morning walkers,” said Benjamin Mathew, a resident of Harrington Road.
“It looks very good, but as regular senior citizens walkers would use the park every day, we would love it to be free for us,” said C. Saklecha (63), a nearby resident.
The park also has an amphitheatre, a seafood restaurant, a soon to be constructed multimedia hall and children’s play area. All these are open to the public between 9 am to 4 pm on all days except Tuesday.
The Eco Park run by Fisheries Department of the state also has a multi-level car parking facility which can accommodate over sixty cars and 100 two-wheelers.