When the plea came up for hearing on Tuesday, the first bench comprising Chief Justice Sanjib Banerjee and Justice Senthilkumar Ramamoorthy said: “Waterbodies are the lifeline for animal species, and there has to be zero tolerance against any kind of encroachment and endangerment of a waterbody.”
Based on the submission from government advocate that some encroachment prevailed in the said areas, the bench directed the district Collector to file a report within four weeks and ensure that the last inch of encroachment in the waterbody was removed.
The petitioner’s counsel R Sivakumar submitted that Ithalar, a hamlet inhabited by Badugas, have been dependent on a waterbody near the village called ‘Haria Hallah’ (rock water) since the seventies. But four persons encroached the area and sunk borewells, resulting in the lone water source getting affected.
A complaint was lodged in 2013 and after persistent representation, the tahsildar visited the village in February, 2020. But without visiting the encroachment spot, which is one km away by foot, the official passed an order merely advising not to encroach the waterbody. Thus, the encroachers continue to benefit at the cost of the villagers, the petitioner said, seeking the court’s intervention.