CHENNAI:Alleging that the Puducherry government was attempting to destroy seven water sources in the Union territory, a farmer has moved the Madras High Court seeking a direction to protect the water bodies. He also alleged that an attempt was on to transfer the lands to persons close to the ruling party.
P Bhaskaran, a farmer and resident of Pillaiyarkuppam, Bahour Commune, Puducherry, said farmers in the village relied on seven tanks for irrigation needs. “The centuries-old tanks help recharge the groundwater and act as a percolation source for the wells,” he said.
“To strengthen the bunds of the tanks, the previous Puducherry government planted several trees along the bunds. The trees have now grown. But, yielding to the pressure of politicians from the ruling party, the authorities have instructed its staff to cut down all the trees and flatten the surface of the bunds,” he alleged in his petition, adding that the authorities were trying to allot these lands to local politicians close to the ruling party. Even after several representations, authorities have expressed their inability to protect the tank bunds, owing to political pressure, Bhaskaran charged.
Following this, he moved the Madras High Court and secured an order on August 19, 2014 directing the authorities to consider his representation within four weeks. “However, instead of complying with the court’s order, the officers resorted to illegal means to cut down the trees using unauthorised persons,” alleged Bhaskaran.
Claiming that the action of the officials would cause irreparable damage to the tanks, he sought a direction to the government to protect the water bodies and an interim injunction restraining the authorities from cutting down the trees in the seven tank bunds. When the petition came up for hearing before the first bench of Chief Justice SK Kaul and Justice TS Sivagnanam, the government pleader for UT govt, T Murugasen, took notice for the UT government.
Before posting the matter to June 8, the Bench directed the government to file the plan of the seven tanks, along with photographs showing the exact location of the tanks and the distance between the lands for which patta has been granted, before June 2.