CHENNAI: The State Finance and PWD Minister, O Panneerselvam, on Wednesday squarely blamed the previous DMK regime for the recent flooding in areas along waterways. Citing several Government Orders issued by the DMK regime regularising encroachments in water bodies despite clear court directives to the contrary, he said the DMK regime had issued such orders only for ‘political reasons’.
The Minister, in a statement here, said the DMK government had been pursuing a ‘policy’ of regularising encroachments in lakes, banks of lakes, water basins etc.
“Only for political reasons, the DMK government issued a GO on December 30, 2006 relaxing the rules for regularising the houses built on encroached lands for more than 10 years. Another GO issued on January 23, 2008 further relaxed the rule by saying that even those lands encroached for five years could be regularised, he pointed out.
Referring to reports of continuing rainwater stagnation in residential areas located within Tirunindravur lake, Panneerselvam, in a statement, said the housing project in Tirunindravur would be an example for DMK regime’s ‘crooked policies’. He said the GO issued by DMK government in 1990 was the reason for water stagnation in houses located in Tirunindravur lake. “However, the government will hold talks with the farmers and those residing in these houses and will release the water in the lake immediately”, he added.
Tracing the origin of the problems faced by the people in this area, the Minister said in 1990, around 50 acres in the Tirunindravur lake were encroached and people built hutments and tiled houses. The then DMK government initially announced that the ‘unobjectionable’ areas in the encroached land could be handed over to Tamil Nadu Slum Clearance Board for development. Since the scheme could not be implemented speedily, it was announced that even ‘objectionable’ lands encroached could be given to the TNSCB. “Of the 2,467 encroachments, 1,006 families got house allotments. Since the houses have been built in a portion of the lake, stagnation of water cannot be avoided when there is heavy rains. The total storage of the lake is 12 feet and the houses have been located five feet below the lake area. As such, when the storage level goes up to seven feet, the houses are marooned. Now, the storage in the lake stands at 11 feet,” the Minister pointed out.Panneerselvam further said as per the G.Os issued on August 1, 1996 and July 21, 1997, 49.74 acres of land within Tirunindravur Lake was given to TNSCB for developing house sites. “By issuing these orders, the DMK government had committed a blunder,” he added.