Coimbatore Corporation’s explanation denying encroachment in lakes comes in for criticism

It is for the PWD to come on record to say that there was no encroachment: consumer body

Denying reports in the media that the water spread area of tanks it had taken up for development and restoration under the Smart Cities Mission had reduced, the Coimbatore Corporation, a few days ago, issued a statement.

The civic body said that it had divided into three areas each of the six tanks it had taken up for development – catchment, water spread area and area near bund. After removing encroachment near the tanks, it had restored storage capacity and taken steps to prevent flooding and stop erosion of bund.

Temporary bunds

During the execution of work, the Corporation said it had built temporary bunds. Once it completed the work, it would remove them.

Without having complete information or understanding of the work, people have alleged encroachment, which was contrary to truth, the Corporation said and added that it abided by court orders on preventing encroachment of water bodies.

Taking objection to the Corporation’s explanation on the lake development project, Coimbatore Consumer Cause had said while it welcomed the project that would give a facelift to the city, it was worried about encroachment and reduction in water spread area.

The encroachment that the Corporation claimed to have cleared on the lakes were based on directions that the court had passed while hearing its petition seeking removal of encroachments from all the 24 water bodies that were a part of the Noyyal basin in the district.

If there was no encroachment in the water bodies that the Corporation had taken on lease from the Public Works Department (PWD) for the lake development project, the Coimbatore Consumer Cause would have no objection.

But it was for the PWD to come on record to say that there was no encroachment, for the Corporation and the district administration had failed to report their progress every three months on removing encroachment, the consumer body’s Secretary K. Kathirmathiyon said.

During the hearing of the case, the court had given exemption to only seven structures built encroaching water bodies and they included the railway track across Valangulam, a few Tangedco sub stations and TNSTC depots. There were many more encroachments that the Corporation had failed to clear. The PWD’s records would show the encroachments, he said and added that the Corporation would do well to realise that the houses it demolished were only based on court order and not a suo moto action for water body restoration.

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