The water crisis in the city has begun to attract the attention of international figures as well as the media. Yet, the State was bent upon stifling the democratic voices of those who want to highlight the problem, Arappor Iyakkam, an NGO, alleged before the Madras High Court on Wednesday.
Arguing a case before Justice N. Anand Venkatesh seeking police permission for a protest titled ‘Kelu Chennai Kelu,’ V. Suresh, counsel for the NGO, contended that it was unfathomable as to how the police could cite steps being taken by the government to address the water crisis as a reason to deny permission for the protest.
After hearing him, the judge adjourned the case to Friday since a government counsel sought time to obtain instructions from the police. When Mr. Suresh pointed out that the NGO had planned to hold the protest at Valluvar Kottam on Sunday, the judge made it clear that he would not grant any further adjournments. In an affidavit filed in support of the petition, the NGO’s managing trustee Jayaram Venkatesan claimed that his organisation had been actively working to restore and reclaim waterbodies after the 2015 floods.
He said the economically weaker section was the most affected since it could not spend much on purchasing water.
The CMWSSB too had drastically reduced the water supply to the city areas and people had to wait for more than 20 days to receive water through lorries.
“Toilets in government hospitals are closed due to water scarcity and companies are requesting employees to work from home. Violence and fights for water have started at a few places,” the petitioner said and stated its protest was aimed at forcing the government to address the issue.