Protect water bodies, dry or wet: Madras HC

In a State where water bodies develop for a few months following the rains and leave no sign in the dry season, the channels have to be left undisturbed and areas that fill up with water in the wet season must be equally protected to allow for the collection of water, the bench said.

In a State where water bodies develop for a few months following rains and leave no sign in the dry season, the channels have to be left undisturbed and areas that fill up with water in the wet season must be equally protected to allow for the collection of water, the Madras High Court ruled on Tuesday.

Chief Justice Sanjib Banerjee and Justice P D Audikesavalu gave the ruling Tuesday, while passing further interim orders on a PIL from Arappor Iyakkam, a non-governmental organisation fighting against corruption.

Petitioner Iyakkam had alleged that the government had constructed a police station on the Thamaraikeni lake in Semmancherry near Sholinganallur in Chennai and prayed the court to restore the lake.

When the matter came up Tuesday, the bench said that this is a matter involving a newly-constructed police station, which appears to have come up on a waterbody. A team of experts from the IIT, Madras has submitted a report indicating that the police station has been constructed on a water body and there are several other encroachments that have almost completely destroyed it.

It is submitted on behalf of the State that the Chennai Metropolitan Development Authority has maps in its records that show the locality and the area to be a waterbody but the revenue records going back to 1987 do not indicate so, as the land was recorded as grazing land under the control of the animal husbandry department.

The bench said that it is quite possible that the revenue records may have revealed dry land and the CMDA records a water body because of the particular seasons when the recordings were made. But, once the CMDA records show the existence of a water body and the expert opinion in such regard is that there was a water body at the site, the sanctity that the revenue records usually command is diluted substantially in this case. At any rate, in a State where water bodies develop for a few months following the rains and leave no sign in the dry season, the channels have to be left undisturbed and areas that fill up with water in the wet season must be equally protected to allow for the collection of water, the bench said.

The State should take all things into consideration and report to this court when the matter appears next, a fortnight hence, as to what course of action would be adopted, not only in respect of the Semmencherry Police Station of Sholinganallur, but also in respect of the several other encroachers, the bench added.

Source: Read Full Article