The Madras High Court on Friday came down strongly over illegal groundwater extraction in the city. Citing Section 3 of Chennai Metropolitan Area Groundwater (Regulation) Act of 1987 which states that to sink a dug well, open well, tube well or bore well in any part of Chennai city requires a permit from Chennai Metropolitan Water Supply and Sewerage Board (CMWSSB), the Madras High Court called for details regarding the number of permits issued so far across the city.
Justices S Manikumar and Subramonium Prasad directed Municipal Administration and Water Supply Department Secretary to submit the list by August 2. They also directed the municipal administration to take action against government officials who failed to stop indiscriminate water extraction, abetting the crime.
The court was hearing a public interest litigation petition filed by PR Sivakumar against illegal groundwater extraction from private lands at Pidarithangal village in Poonamallee Taluk of Tiruvallur district.
It also directed the Secretary to submit a report on the complaints received so far on illegal groundwater extraction. A TOI report states that the judgement passed in this case was applicable throughout the state.
The court, while observing that the city’s acute water scarcity cannot be a justification to draw groundwater illegally from suburban localities, also pointed out Section 5 of the Act which mandates license to be obtained first from CMWSSB for extraction of groundwater for any purpose other than domestic, to be transported through lorries.
The Hindu states that the judges were shocked to learn that as many as 130 illegal borewells were detected in a massive raid conducted in nine villages in the Tiruvallur district.
According to TOI, Tiruvallur sub-collector filed this report claiming 130 deep bore wells have been dismantled and 34 apparatus used for illegal water extraction seized as part of the inspection.