Tamil Nadu

Madras High Court miffed over official inaction on encroachment of waterbodies

Madras High Court expresses concern over   | Photo Credit: GANESAN V

Madras High Court Acting Chief Justice Munishwar Nath Bhandari on Tuesday took serious note of numerous litigations filed in the court complaining of rampant encroachment of waterbodies across the State.

Presiding over the first Division Bench with Justice P.D. Audikesavalu, he said the court would not be flooded with such cases if only the government officials concerned performed their duties diligently and initiated appropriate action.

The observations were made during the hearing of a public interest litigation petition filed by a resident of Sothupakkam against the encroachment of a lake and a pond near the Melmaruvathur bus stand in Kancheepuram district.

When a government counsel said that encroachments had occurred during the previous regime, and it had only been six months since the present government took charge, the ACJ quipped that the government may be new but the officials remained the same.

Later, the judges directed the High Court Registry to tag the PIL petition with similar cases in which the court had ordered the geo-referencing of satellite images of all the waterbodies in the State, and list them for hearing on Wednesday.

In his affidavit, petitioner R. Raja said the Keezhmaruvathur lake and a pond abutting it had vanished since 2015 due to encroachment by shops, pay-and-use toilets and parking lots.

He said the lake, which was otherwise used by farmers for irrigation, now remained only on revenue documents like the Adangal register. He complained that the encroachers polluted the groundwater by discharging sewage.

The petitioner reportedly lodged a complaint over the encroachments with the Block Development Officer in August 2015 and followed it up periodically. But no action had been taken till date, he lamented.

Referring to the State having enacted the Tamil Nadu Protection of Tanks and Eviction of Encroachment Act, 2007, under which the officials were obligated to keep the waterbodies free of encroachments, the petitioner said that in spite of the law, the officials did not initiate action.

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Printable version | Jan 23, 2022 9:33:32 AM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/national/tamil-nadu/madras-high-court-miffed-over-official-inaction-on-encroachment-of-waterbodies/article37779491.ece

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