Plea in Madurai Bench to prevent exploitation of Vaigai river

May 06, 2022 08:34 pm | Updated May 07, 2022 04:19 am IST - Madurai:

Vaigai river. File

Vaigai river. File | Photo Credit: R. Ashok

The Vaigai Nathi Makkal Iyakkam has filed a public interest litigation petition before the Madurai Bench of the Madras High Court seeking a direction to the State to take appropriate steps to prevent the exploitation of the river Vaigai.

A Division Bench of Justices T. Raja and D. Bharatha Chakravarthy directed the State to file a status report on the petition filed by the Managing Trustee of the Iyakkam M. Nagarajan of Mela Anna Thopu in Madurai.

The petitioner complained that construction debris and waste generated while laying roads as part of the Smart City Project were being dumped into the river Vaigai. He pointed out that the debris of the old Kuruvikaran Salai bridge was dumped into the river.

An appropriate inquiry should be conducted and action taken against those responsible for the dumping of the construction debris and those who let sewage into the river Vaigai, the petitioner said.

He said the authorities should remove the waste and collect adequate compensation from those responsible for dumping the waste on the basis of the ‘Polluter Pays Principle’ and also prevent the constructions along the river Vaigai.

Further, he sought a direction to the authorities to take steps to operate the sewage treatment plant set up along the Panthalkudi channel and ensure the sewage water is recycled. Also, the mixing of sewage water into the river should be prevented.

He said the Vaigai was the main source of water for Madurai and other nearby districts. However, the quality of water in the river was deteriorating and getting polluted. The entire riverbed was polluted, he said.

As per Construction and Demolition (C&D) Waste Management Rules, any waste comprising construction debris, demolition of civil structure, rubble resulting from demolition, remodelling and repair were classified as C&D waste, he said.

It is a challenge to handle C&D waste. The construction project under the Smart City Project was taken up for the beautification of the banks of the river Vaigai. However, the construction debris was dumped along the stretch, he said.

The construction of check dams in the river by excavating sand will affect the groundwater level, he said and also complained about the extraction of sand from the river. Many trees uprooted along the stretch were not replanted, Mr. Nagarajan said. The case was adjourned for further hearing.

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