HC seeks status report on steps to prevent waterlogging

Corporation asked to provide details by November 10

Published - November 04, 2017 01:17 am IST - CHENNAI

The First Bench of the Madras High Court on Friday called for a status report — to be submitted by November 10 — on the steps taken by the Greater Chennai Corporation to prevent waterlogging and drain out stagnant water from various points in the city.

“The authorities (Sic) also directed to expedite, within three months, the removal of unauthorised encroachments on waterbodies and canals and remove the unauthorised constructions and structures blocking the drainage and other water-flowing areas. Pump sets shall be installed to remove the water accumulated. Arrangements shall be made to provide shelter and food to the affected people in the water logging areas,” ordered the court.

‘Lethargic attitude’

The bench was hearing arguments on a Public Interest Litigation petition filed by advocate A.P. Suryaprakasam, who alleged that the State government and Corporation have, “shown a lethargic attitude which resulted in uncleared sewerage choking the stormwater drain, resulting in accumulation of floodwater, inundating the city.”

Mr. Suryaprakasam sought the formation of ground-level disaster management committees that will not have to wait for orders from the Chief Minister.

During the hearing, the bench also checked whether the Corporation’s helpline for civic complaints was working by asking a lawyer to dial the helpline 1913 and was satisfied after hearing the phone ring at the other end.

Both sides also provided photographs to substantiate their respective contentions. While Mr. Suryaprakasam displayed newspaper clippings that showed instances of waterlogging, Advocate General Vijay Narayan presented photographs that documented the desilting of various waterbodies.

The AG also informed the court that the government regularly removed encroachers but said that they return to the spot almost immediately.

The Corporation also submitted a preparedness report for the monsoon before the court. Among other things, it said that its desilting efforts had increased the water carrying capacity of the North Buckingham Canal, Velachery Eri, Central Buckingham Canal and Captain Cotton Canal to 90%.

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