The Madras High Court has warned of stringent action against Tiruvallur Collector for failing to check the rampant illegal extraction of groundwater in the district despite two court orders directing action against the offenders and seizure of vehicles used in the illegal transport of water.
Following a petition, the bench had directed the Collector on July 12 and July 17 to conduct inspection at Pidarithangal village where groundwater was being extraction illegally at the alleged business place of four individuals. The bench had also directed the authorities to initiate action against the offenders, seize the motor and apparatus used for extraction of water, and also vehicles used for transportation and distribution of water.
The court also appointed L Chandrakumar as Advocate Commissioner to inspect the places cited by the petitioner and submit a report as to whether groundwater was being extracted and supplied for commercial purposes.
But with no action coming forth and the petitioner submitting photographs of lorries stationed there, the bench wondered during the hearing as to whether the Collector was reading the newspapers to learn about court directions, and added that at least 200 to 300 tanker lorries were being used in a day to illegally transport water.
The court directions have been published in newspapers, the court said, adding that the collector cannot take shield in such submissions while the illegal tapping of water was happening right under the officials’ nose.
The bench also noted how the failure of the administration to adhere to court directions had led to rampant sand mining in the district.
The plea has been posted for further hearing to Friday, when the bench is expected to pass strong strictures against Tiruvallur collector and other authorities for their failure to check rampant illegal groundwater extraction.