CHENNAI: The Madras High Court has directed the state government authorities to shift the dumping yard in the city's Perungudi and Alandur elsewhere and ascertain the feasibility of declaring the Pallikaranai marsh land there as a bird sanctuary and as a Ramsar site.
A Ramsar site is a wetland designated to be of international importance under the Ramsar Convention.
Justice N Kirubakaran (since retired) gave the direction recently, while passing orders on a batch of petitioners, who apprehended arrest for alleged encroachment and fraudulent sale of a portion of the Pallikaranai marsh land to third parties.
They were granted the relief by an order passed in December, 2014.
By this recent order, the judge relaxed the conditions stipulated earlier in 2014.
Even though these petitions were for anticipatory bail, as they involved alleged illegal transfer of marsh land, the judge said he was invoking Article 226 of the Constitution and issuing necessary directions in public interest to protect the marsh lands.
The judge gave a set of directions, which among other things directed the authorities concerned to relocate the Perungudi and Alandur dump yard to an alternative site and prevent disposal of municipal solid waste, effluents and the sewage let out by industries, housing complexes and the CMWSSB and survey the encroachments, unauthorised settlements and their immediate relocation followed by eviction whichever is feasible.
The government should identify and cancel the pattas (land deed) obtained illegally and declare as protected wetland under the provisions of the Wetland Rules, 2017 forthwith to implement the conservation measures.
Any sort of non-forestry activity in the Pallikaranai marsh should be prevented and the government should explore the feasibility of declaring it as a bird sanctuary under the Wildlife Protection Act, 1972 and reclaim the unutilised lands allotted to government industries and institutions.
Efforts should be taken to retrieve the marsh land allotted to all educational institutions, individuals and industries and effective steps have to be taken to declare Pallikaranai as a Ramsar site.
A panel should be constituted for preservation of Pallikaranai with NGOs and environmentalists, empowered under the Environmental Protection Act, 196 and frame an appropriate scheme to restore Pallikaranai marsh, regulate development around it and monitor all developments.
The fencing work around the marsh land should be completed as early as possible and any water block in Pallikaranai should be removed by the Public Works Depatment so that flow of water into the marsh land will not be affected.
No further encroachment shall be permitted to be made in the marsh, which is meant for birds and other insects.
A report regarding compliance of the above directions shall be filed before this court on December 21, the judge added.