The Madras High Court has dismissed a batch of writ petitions seeking to restrain the Madambakkam Town Panchayat and Chitalapakkam Panchayat Union from constructing five giant wells inside the Madambakkam lake for supply of drinking water to nearby areas under Madambakkam-Chitlapakkam Combined Drinking Water Scheme and restore the lake to its original condition.
The bench added that the scheme drawn by the State government to provide water to the needy could be said as arbitrary or in contravention of statutory provisions. “The government cannot be restrained by issuance of a writ, as prayed for,” the bench added.
The court was hearing three public interest litigations that had contended that the Madambakkam lake was dry and damaged. The actual area of the lake has shrunk and was poorly maintained without proper desilting. Hence, sinking wells as planned by the government would be detrimental to the lake, the petitioners contended.
They had also submitted that water in the lake was being used for irrigation of agricultural lands and hence drawing water from the lake would lead to its depletion, which in turn would severely affect agricultural operations. The pleas had also cited Section 14 of the Chennai Metropolitan Area Ground Water (Regulation) Act, 1987, which permits only storing of water in waterbodies and cannot be used for any other purpose.