Coimbatore

Legal issues delay Corporation’s work in Singanallur tank

Coimbatore Corporation is yet to start work to develop the Singanallur tank under the Smart Cities Mission.

Coimbatore Corporation is yet to start work to develop the Singanallur tank under the Smart Cities Mission.   | Photo Credit: S_SIVA SARAVANAN

The civic body had planned to develop the lake at ₹ 12.55 crore under the Smart Cities Mission

A few days after Municipal Administration Minister S.P. Velumani participated in the ground breaking ceremony in December to kick start work to develop the Singanallur tank under the Smart Cities Mission, the Coimbatore Corporation was served with a notice to respond to a writ petition.

The Madras High Court had issued the notice on the petition filed by Raman Kodhandapani, a resident of Villupuram district, and posted the case to February 26 for hearing. The court notice has effectively put on hold the Corporation’s project to develop the lake at ₹ 12.55 crore under the Mission.

The Corporation had proposed minimum development on the tank, which it had declared a conservation zone in August 2017.

The civic body had proposed development of the 288-acre tank's northern bund, abutting Trichy Road, construction of a watch tower, refurbishment of the boat house and natural treatment of the sewage flowing in, to keep the works at a minimum, said an official familiar with the proposal.

Unlike the other tanks that it had taken up for development under the Mission, Singanallur tank was a special case where it wanted to execute the work with the least possible disturbance to its ecology. But with the court notice, the Corporation had been unable to start the work. Or rather it did not want to start the work before the Court disposes of the case.

The officials said the petitioner Mr. Kodhandapani had earlier filed a case in April 2019 with the Corporation as a respondent. His prayer was for strict enforcement of the District Collector’s August 14, 2018 order banning fishing in the tank.

A division of Justice Manikumar and Justice Subramonium Prasad had disposed of the petition saying that the Collector should implement his August 2018 order in letter and spirit.

The officials said they suspected the writ petition to be the handiwork of a few who seemed to wear the veil of environment activists. They seemed to have vested interest in delaying the project, which the Corporation would overcome.

One of the environment organisations working in the Singanallur tank, the Centre for Urban Biodiversity Conservation and Education, said the court case had led to unnecessary friction with the Corporation, for a few officials were under the impression that it had filed the case.

The truth was otherwise, though, as the Centre was one among the respondents in the case.

The Centre, on its part, had given a set of suggestions to the Corporation to be incorporated in the plan to develop the tank and it was under discussion.

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Printable version | Jul 5, 2020 7:29:00 AM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/cities/Coimbatore/legal-issues-delay-corporations-work-in-singanallur-tank/article30831955.ece

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