CHENNAI: The Madras High Court on Monday ordered demarcation and restoration of one of the major water bodies in Chennai, the Buckingham Canal, within the timeline it has stipulated and warned that if the order was not complied with, the government authorities concerned would be held accountable.
The first bench of Chief Justice Munishwar Nath Bhandari and Justice N Mala passed the orders on a petition filed in 2014 by the Kasthuribha and Indira Nagar Residents Welfare Forum seeking to remove the encroachments made along the Canal Bank Road.
The court ordered the sixth respondent-Executive Engineer (EE) of PWD, WRO, Araniaru Storm Water Drain Division, Chennai, to strictly adhere to the timeline of six months for demarcation, with reference to the original length and breadth as found in the record of the boundary of Buckingham Canal.
The timeline will not be extended and all the officials responsible for not keeping it will be made accountable for the lapse. The canal shall be restored to its original boundaries. After the demarcation of the boundaries, the encroachments shall be removed within a year. All structures on the canal, except the pillars for the Mass Rapid Transit System (MRTS), flyovers and bridges, should be removed to make it navigable within one year, the court said.
The further directed the State government not to regularise any constructions; and reclassification of the land falling within the Canal shall be cancelled and no further reclassification be done. No future construction should be permitted on the Canal without the approval of Inland Waterways Authority of India, the judges said in the order.