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Was Metro tunnelling work executed without disturbing water sources, asks High Court

Doubting whether any scientific methods were adopted to avoid disturbance to water sources before construction of tunnels across Chennai for the Metro project, the Madras High Court has said water, in the future, may not be seen anywhere but for the sea if government officials did not start taking sincere steps to preserve water sources.

A Division Bench of Justices M. Venugopal and S. Vaidyanathan made the observation while passing interim orders on a public interest litigation petition filed by advocate V.B.R. Menon in 2016 for instituting water management systems and using modern technologies including GPS to achieve optimum utilisation of available waterbodies.

In reply, a government counsel informed the court that a survey was underway with respect to 400 waterbodies.

He, however, did not provide any further details and did not spell out the stage of such survey. No schedule was also presented before the court listing out the tentative dates by which the survey would be completed and encroachments would be removed.

Granting time till March 18 for the government counsel to file a status report on the ongoing survey, the Bench said: “The desilting process has to go on parallely to ensure that the existing waterbodies are preserved… The government must ensure that as and when it rains, the rainwater is saved properly without letting it flow into the sea.”

‘Lethargic attitude’

The judges went on to lament: “It is saddening to note that though our State has all the resources, due to the lethargic attitude of the officials of the respondents and the lack of interest in their preservation, we are made to beg for water from other States.”

They said no project in developed countries would be carried out by affecting water sources.

Article source: https://www.thehindu.com/news/cities/chennai/was-metro-tunnelling-work-executed-without-disturbing-water-sources-asks-high-court/article26526294.ece

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