The Madras High Court bench here has ordered notice to the executive engineer of the Tamil Nadu Water Supply and Drainage (TWAD) Board, superintending engineer of Public Works Department and the Madurai Collector on a public interest litigation seeking a direction to the officials not to implement the Cauvery integrated drinking water scheme in a branch of the Nilaiyur water channel in Melakkal.

In his petition, K. Neethi Rajan, claimed that more than 2,000 families lived in Melakkal. Mr. Rajan claimed that one of the branches of the Nilaiyur channel network ran through Melakkal. “The authorities from TWAD board, without any intimation to the villagers, started digging trenches in the branch of the Nilaiyur water channel on August 21, 2008 to implement the Cauvery integrated water scheme. On August 27, 2012, the villagers submitted a representation to the Collector seeking to fill the trenches because it was a threat to the lives of the residents of South Street in the village.

Subsequently, the work was stopped and the trenches were filled on the directions of the Collector.” Mr. Rajan claimed that obstruction in the branch of the Nilaiyur water channel could result in water overflowing into the village, causing flooding.

There were vacant lands in the village, yet the authorities chose to dig the trench in this specific branch of the water channel, which is against the interest of the residents of the area, he alleged.

On August 9, 2013, the president of the Melakkal village panchayat announced that the authorities would resume their work and dig trenches to implement the drinking water scheme, he added. Therefore, he moved the court. The authorities were violating government orders, which stress the protection of water channels and water bodies, by choosing a water body to construct the water tank to implement the drinking water scheme, he added.

The case was adjourned to August 29.

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