CHENNAI: The Madras High Court ordered the government of Tamil Nadu to develop a pilot program to clean up major water bodies from encroachments and rehabilitate evicted occupants.
The first bench of Chief Justice Sanjib Banerjee and Justice PD Audikesavalu said: “It is imperative that in a state that does not have a perennial river, water bodies and seasonal running water channels are not disturbed, if only to ensure the future survival of the human race in that part of the world.
The bench, while issuing orders on a batch of petitions, suggested that the pilot program be based on the experience of removing encroachments in Chitlapakkam Lake in Chennai.
Regarding Lake Chitlapakkam, official respondents said they identified 403 invaders and issued advisories to them. Referring to the occupiers’ claims that they had been there longer, up to 50 years, and had been granted connections to electricity and water supply, the court said the occupants must be able to assert their right on the basis of title deeds, without their respective claims can hardly be accepted.
“As a first step, all new encroachment attempts should be dealt with strictly by the state with constant vigilance,” he said.
Noting that water bodies continue to be encroached despite several court instructions, the judges said the state should obtain and create a catalog of satellite images of all taluk water bodies at the district level and state, georeference the same, and keep it with a copy submitted to court. “… so that in the future the Indian rope loop can no longer be pulled over water bodies and that they stop evaporating or disappearing,” they said.
Claiming that water bodies continue to be encroached upon, judges said the state should create a catalog of satellite images of water bodies, georeference them and submit a copy to the court. “… so that in the future, the Indian rope tour can no longer be pulled on bodies of water”
number of encroachers identified by official respondents in the Chitlapakkam Lake case in Chennai. They had also sent them notices