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HC directs Tiruvallur officials to inspect groundwater exploitation

In continuing directions imposing action against those indulging in illegal commercial exploitation of groundwater, the Madras High Court has directed the District Revenue Officer, Tiruvallur Division and the tahsildar of Poonamallee taluk to hold inspection in Pidarithangal village in Poonamallee to ascertain the facts about alleged illegal extraction of groundwater.

Chennai

When the plea in this regard came up before it for hearing, a division bench comprising Justice S Manikumar and Justice Subramonium Prasad noted that the petitioner has also enclosed photographs that show a borewell from which water was being taken through pipe with several water tankers stationed. The photographs show the entire place covered with metal sheets, it added.

“In the event of contravention of Chennai Metropolitan Ground Water (Regulation) Act, 1987, and rules framed therein, take action, seize the electrical motor, apparatus used for extraction of water, as well as the vehicles engaged for transportation and distribution forthwith,” the benchsaid, directing the DRO to submit the action taken report by July 17.

The petitioner had contended that five persons have dug up borewells to extract water for commercial purposes, causing serious water shortage as a result.

He also contended that despite representation to the Tiruvallur district Collector and other authorities, no action has been taken. This left him with no choice but to approach the court. Earlier, the bench had directed the Chennai city police Commissioner to initiate disciplinary inquiry against Nataraj, inspector of Pazhavanthangal police station, and another inspector part of the intelligence wing for reportedly aiding some of the illegal water suppliers in Nanganallur.

The action was based on a report filed by Advocate Commissioner L Chandrakumar that there were clear signs of illegal exploitation of groundwater by some private landowners in Nanganallur and also in Gowrivakkam village in Sembakkam Municipality.

The inspector, who had earlier given a clean chit to illegal activity, had questioned the Advocate Commissioner for visiting the spot without informing him.

Advocate Commissioner Chandrakumar reported that the water pipes from where the lorries were filled were cut and attempts made to destroy evidence before the inspection. But the photographs taken at the spot and statements by neighbours clearly established transport of 250 to 300 lorry loads of water per day from Gowrivakkam, he had said.

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