In 2013, Sundara Vimalnathan, a RTI activist, in a reply to his plea from the Kumbakonam municipality was told that all the 44 ponds and five irrigation channels in the region have been encroached by private parties. Meanwhile, ‘Elephant’ G Rajendran, the activist-advocate, filed a Public Interest Litigation (PIL) demanding retrieval of encroached ponds in the temple town.
Following this the High Court appointed S Solaimalai, a retired district judge from Pudukkottai, to inspect the ponds and submit a report to the court. Following this, Solaimalai accompanied by the petitioner Elephant G Rajendran, RTI activist Sundara Vimalnathan, Assistant Director of survey Rajakumar, Assistant commissioner of Hindu Religious and Charitable endowments Gnanasekaran, Municpal Commissioner Uma Maheswari and other officials commenced the inspection.
The team first inspected a tank in Chettimandapam area and later went to Bairagithoppu pond owned by the Tirupathi Devasthanam.
The retired judge was shocked to see a compound wall constructed at a cost of Rs 40 lakh by the municipal authorities without removing the encroachments. The inspecting judge also questioned why the sewage from houses located around were being discharged into the pond.
Subsequently, he moved to the “Aayee kulam”, which was completely dry and only a large amount of soil was found in it. Moreover, the water body has been converted into a temporary parking lot.
Later, the Judge visited the Chandrapushkarni of Someswaran temple, Potramarai tank and inspected the inlet. The team recorded the places surveyed. Malluga Chettikulam, Sembodai Kuttai, Mahamaham tank, Hanumar Kulam, Thamarai Kulam and Chekkankanni tanks were also inspected by the retired judge.
The team further informed that the inspection would continue on Friday.