The Chief Justice asked what the civic body had done since the 2015 floods, and said this cannot be the condition of a leading State in the country
The Madras High Court on Tuesday warned the Greater Chennai Corporation (GCC) that it would take up a suo motu public interest litigation petition regarding the travails faced by residents of Chennai due to rainwater logging, if the situation does not improve by Friday or Saturday.
Chief Justice Sanjib Banerjee and Justice P.D. Audikesavalu broached the subject during the hearing of a case related to GCC. The judges asked the GCC counsel, Kartika Ashok, as to what the civic body was doing in the last five years since the city was battered by floods in 2015.
The Chief Justice said the Corporation ought to have taken corrective measures and made sure that the city does not float during heavy rains. He said, in all fairness, the city should not have been facing the situation that it was facing now with many localities remaining inundated.
He also told State Government Pleader, P. Muthukumar, that all water channels should have been maintained well so that the water could recede. “It is such a pity that half the year, we are longing for water and for the rest of the half, we are flooding or dying in water,” the Chief Justice lamented. He added: “We are not a backward State. We are the most advanced State on many parameters. This cannot be the state of a leading State in the country.”
Justice Audikesavalu pitched in to say that the encroachment of water bodies and channels was the main reason for flooding in Chennai. He said, even if the officials evict encroachments, they crop up again after some years. The judge pointed out that the court had come across cases where even the government had been accused of encroaching upon water bodies.
The judges hoped that the situation in Chennai city would improve soon and warned that, otherwise, they would initiate suo motu proceedings by Friday or Saturday.