Special Correspondent

CHENNAI: A three-member team of senior engineers of the Tamil Nadu Pollution Control Board has said that a nearly 65-acre site at Kuthambakkam, near Poonamallee, where a Solid Waste Management Facility is proposed, is not a suitable location for establishing the facility. This is because rainwater which collects in this area reaches the Chembarambakkam Lake, which is a major water source for Chennai.

The reports of the team were shown to the First Bench comprising the Chief Justice H.L. Gokhale and Justice D. Murugesan when petitions by S. Nandakumar and the Kuthambakkam Panchayat, represented by its president P. Geetha, challenging the setting up of the facility at the site, came up for further hearing. Earlier, in its interim order, the court had said that garbage should not be dumped on the disputed land until further orders.

In its present order, the Bench said notwithstanding the team’s report, it appeared that the Member-Secretary had issued a further communication dated October 2008 which was to the contrary and which permitted a compound wall to be constructed round the site wherein the treatment facility is to come up. In this state of affairs, the Bench said it was of the view that the pollution control board should file an affidavit explaining as to what was the correct position in this behalf and placing on record the report of the Municipal Solid Waste Monitoring team, the decision of the board and the Member-Secretary.

The petitioners prayed that construction of the compound wall be stopped in the meanwhile. The Government Pleader submitted that quarrying was going on in the site with the petitioners’ connivance. This was denied by petitioners. The panchayat president said she had no objection to the quarrying being stopped.

The Bench directed that no quarrying and any other construction activity, including construction of a compound wall, would be permitted on the disputed land until further orders. Grazing of animals would be permitted. Counsel for the pollution control board said a counter would be filed. The matter has been posted for September 2.