The southern bench of the National Green Tribunal (NGT) has directed the Tamil Nadu Water Resources Department (WRD) to file a status report on evictions near the Vandalur lake, and on the restoration of the waterbody.
The tribunal had suo motu taken up a case on the degeneration of Vandalur lake due to encroachments and contamination in 2020. It was also alleged that biomedical waste was being dumped in the area. On earlier directions of the tribunal, the WRD had submitted that the eviction process was taken up by the Department under the supervision of the Revenue and Police departments. “However, the report is silent about whether the process is complete and the lake is restored,” noted the NGT on May 9. The tribunal has also asked WRD to lay out steps on how the lake will be maintained after it is fully restored.
Further, the NGT directed the Tamil Nadu Pollution Control Board (TNPCB) to submit whether or not the Kattankulathur Panchayat Union has paid an interim compensation of ₹33,00,000 issued under Section 5 of the Environment (Protection) Act, 1986, for not removing unsegregated waste dumped in Kolathur village. A joint committee constituted by the tribunal found that the Vandalur panchayat was also not acting in compliance with the Solid Waste Management Rules, 2016.
As per the committee’s observations, no biomedical waste was found in the area. To avoid the entry of unauthorised persons, the Public Works Department (PWD) is providing a foreshore bund around the lake. The PWD reportedly found three houses encroaching upon the lake and will carry out work to remove them, the committee said.