The Madras High Court has directed the Managing Director of Chennai Metropolitan Water Supply and Sewerage Board (CMWSSB), who is also chairman of a court-appointed committee to improve the drainage system, to hold a meeting of the panel in August first week and submit a preliminary report on the steps taken.

The First Bench, comprising Chief Justice M.Y. Eqbal and Justice T.S. Sivagnanam, passed the order on an application in a contempt petition.

In the application, Niranjan Mardi, Secretary, Municipal Administration and Water Supply, and Shiv Das Meena, Chairman and Managing Director, CMWSSB, sought time up to December this year for implementing a High Court judgment of August 5 last year.

In the order, a direction was given for constituting a special committee for submitting a report with suggestions and recommendations to improve the drainage system and maintenance of the overall environment in the metropolitan cities, towns and villages in Tamil Nadu.

The report was supposed to have been filed within two months from the date of receipt of the order copy. Though the order copy was received in November last year, the report had not been submitted in time. Hence, the present application seeking six more months to submit the final report was filed.

The CMWSSB Managing Director filed an affidavit stating that subsequent to the court order, entry of sanitary workers into the manholes in sewerage had been stopped. Machines were being utilised for maintaining the sewerage in Chennai.

A. Narayanan of Virugambakkam, who had originally filed the writ petition against manual scavenging, and who is also a member of the committee, said the panel chairman and other members were not taking the matter seriously.

Although, three or four meetings were held, no decision was taken. There was no discussion on the points made by the High Court.

The Bench said considering the seriousness of the matter, it should monitor the further course of action and the steps that may be taken by the authorities from time to time.

It directed the chairman to hold the meeting next month and submit the preliminary report.

The matter has been posted for August 17.

Keywords: drainage system