Tamil Nadu

HC summons T.N. Chief Secretary for delay in evicting encroachers

The Madras High Court has summoned Chief Secretary V. Irai Anbu to explain why there has been a delay in identifying all waterbodies in the State, fixing their boundaries through a full-fledged survey and evicting the encroachers so that the State does not suffer from either water scarcity or flooding in the future.

Acting Chief Justice Munishwar Nath Bhandari and Justice P.D. Audikesavalu directed Mr. Anbu to be present in the court on December 16. They were unhappy over the non-compliance with three significant directions issued by the court on January 28, 2019 with the aim of protecting the waterbodies and preserving them for posterity.

The first direction was to file an action taken report on the basis of the Comptroller and Auditor General’s report, for the year ending March 2017, which stated that the Tamil Nadu Protection of Tanks and Eviction of Encroachment Act of 2007 was of no use since the government had not earmarked the boundaries of each and every waterbody.

Secondly, the court had directed the Collectors of all districts to prepare a list of the waterbodies found in their revenue records and send copies of the same to the officers of the Registration Department, Tangedco, jurisdictional local bodies and the District Election Officers before February 8, 2019. The idea behind the order was to ensure that no document related to a land classified as a waterbody got registered and no construction on a waterbody was provided with an electricity connection.

The third direction was to the Chief Secretary to compile the data submitted by the Collectors and file a report in the court, listing the number of waterbodies in the State, the extent of encroachments and the steps taken to remove them. Though the Chief Secretary filed an affidavit on Wednesday, the judges were not satisfied.

Expressing dismay over very little having been done in the last three years to evict the encroachers and remove the encroachments from waterbodies, the ACJ said: “We are not going to pardon anyone.”

“If they are not going to protect the waterbodies, what are they paid for?” he asked.

He warned that the court would not hesitate to pass orders withholding the salaries of the officials concerned if they do not pull up their socks and swing into action even after the Chief Secretary had been summoned.

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Printable version | Jan 19, 2022 2:19:53 AM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/national/tamil-nadu/hc-summons-tn-chief-secretary-for-delay-in-evicting-encroachers/article37905442.ece

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