The southern bench of the National Green Tribunal (NGT) has directed the Commissioner of Land Administration, the District Collector, the Forest Department and the Survey and Settlement Department to conduct a detailed survey to ascertain the original extent of the Pallikaranai marshland and take steps to remove the encroachments as per the directions issued by the Madras High Court.
The Bench directed the authorities to find out the original extent of the marshland as per the revenue records of the pre-Independence era.
The bench also directed the Greater Chennai Corporation and the Chennai Metropolitan Water Supply and Sewerage Board not to discharge untreated sewage into the Pallikaranai marshland or carry out any activity in a manner to encroach upon the waterbody and pollute the water in the marshland.
The bench asked the Corporation to consider handing over the Perungudi dump to the Forest Department to restore it to its original position by adopting bio-mining.
The NGT directed the Chief Secretary to appoint a high-level committee to evaluate the survey conducted and issue directions to prepare an action plan to protect the marshland, identify encroachments, remove them and to declare the area as protected marshland under the Wetland (Conservation and Management) Rules, 2017 or under the Wildlife (Protection) Act, 1972, and Madras Forest Act and transfer it to respective authority for future protection and management and implementation of the action plan.
“Once the lands are retrieved and handed over to the Forest Department, then the department is directed to take steps to protect the same against the encroachment and pollution and develop the same as an eco or biodiversity park and make it a good bird sanctuary,” the bench said.