The Madras High Court on Tuesday warned the Greater Chennai Corporation (GCC) that it would take up a suo motu public interest litigation petition on Chennai residents’ travails due to waterlogging, if the situation did not improve by Friday or Saturday.
Chief Justice Sanjib Banerjee and Justice P.D. Audikesavalu broached the subject at the hearing of a case related to the GCC. The judges asked Kartika Ashok, counsel for the GCC, as to what the civic body had been doing in the last five years since the city was battered by floods in 2015.
The Chief Justice said the GCC ought to have taken corrective measures and made sure that the city did not float during heavy rain. He said that, in all fairness, the city should not have been facing the situation that it was facing now with many localities remaining inundated. He also told Government Pleader P. Muthukumar that all channels should have been maintained well for the water to recede. “It is such a pity that half the year, we are longing for water and for the rest of the half, we are flooding or dying in water,” the Chief Justice lamented. He added: “We are not a backward State. We are the most advanced State on many parameters. This cannot be the state of a leading State in the country.”
Justice Audikesavalu said the encroachment of waterbodies and channels was the main reason for flooding. He said even if the officials evicted encroachments, they cropped up again after some years. The judge said the court had come across cases in which even the government had been accused of encroaching upon waterbodies.
The judges hoped the situation in the city would improve soon and warned they would otherwise initiate suo motu proceedings.