The Madras High Court on Friday urged the Tamil Nadu government to formulate a scheme to rehabilitate those encroaching water bodies.
"Even if it is accepted that the occupants are rank trespassers, who have willy-nilly settled into the edges of the waterbody, it is for the State to formulate a scheme for their rehabilitation," the first bench of Chief Justice Sanjib Banerjee and Justice P D Audukesavalau said.
The bench was passing further interim orders on a batch of PIL petitions seeking to remove the encroachments on the water bodies, waterways and tanks, including the one at Chitlapakkam in the city.
"The water bodies have to be saved. The encroachers have to be removed. It would do well for the State to formulate a scheme under which the encroachers at the Chitlapakkam lake may be temporarily accommodated at some place while permanent dwellings are prepared on a long-term basis. Again, only the long-term occupants may avail of this advantage, those of the encroachers who have come in recently may not be immediately entitled to be rehabilitated," the bench pointed out.
Earlier, the government submitted some of the occupants had stretched their areas of occupation to transgress from one survey number to another and sought to take advantage of such illegal exercise to suggest that the notices addressed to them pertain to the erroneous survey number.