Justice SM Subramaniam of the Madras High Court had directed the Public Works Department, Water Resources department in Coimbatore and Tirupur districts to initiate stringent actions, including filing criminal cases against people who are involved in the act of illegal water tapping in the Aliyar basin division canal.
The judge passed this direction on hearing a petition moved by K Paramasivam, a former chairman of Parambikkulam – Aliyar project committee. The petitioner prayed for a direction to PWD, WRO not to grant permission to the illegal water extraction from the Aliyar Basin Division Canal.
The judge said that the counter affidavit filed by the Superintendent Engineer, WRO, Coimbatore has made it clear that culprits are using the latest gadgets to know the movements of the patrolling officials in advance and remove the temporary pipes.
“The officials shall intensify the search operation with the assistance of the police to nab the illegal water tappers and criminal cases can be filed if theft of water is identified or any mischief has been committed,” the judge said.
The court also asked the government to use drone cameras to find out the offenders. “The Tangedco shall snap the electricity connection to the offenders and the government schemes including subsidies, farm loans shall be stopped to the illegal water tappers,” the judge noted.
The petitioner submitted through his counsel C Prakasam that the authorities of the WRO are granting permission without adhering to the rules and regulations to be followed.
“Persons who are permitted are extracting the excess water and other farmers are unable to get adequate water for irrigation and the unequal distribution of water is creating a larger public issue,” the petitioner added.
However, the government has informed that the anti-water theft squad teams have been formed to identify the illegal water tappers and proper actions have been initiated.
On recording the submissions, the judge directed the government to review the permission granted for extraction of water by private individuals and reassess the situations prevailing there. The HC posted the matter to January 25, 2022, seeking the government to file a compliance report on that date.