NGT forms panel to remove encroachments from Medavakkam lake

Committee directed to trace encroachers and also ascertain the original extent of the lake

The southern bench of the National Green Tribunal has appointed a committee to remove encroachments from the Medavakkam lake and ascertain the original extent of the lake as per revenue records. It has also asked the panel to trace the encroachers.

The bench of Justice K. Ramakrishnan and expert member Saibal Dasgupta, taking up the matter suo moto, directed the committee to also find out whether there was any illegal discharge of untreated effluents or sewage into the waterbody and ascertain the quality of the water in the lake. In case the water was contaminated it wanted a solution.

“The committee is also directed to ascertain whether there was a scheme launched by the State government or the district administration to protect this water body and if so what is its stage of implementation,” the bench said.

The directions came on a newspaper report that the Medavakkam lake, which is under the control of the Public Works Department, originally spanned 200 acres and was used to irrigate agricultural lands in Medavakkam, Vadakkupattu, Vellakkal and Kovilambakkam and that the lake lands were encroached upon some years back and sold after a fake survey number was given.

“The encroachment of the lake as per government records is 145 acres and extent of the lake has been reduced to 50 acres and government authorities are also issuing land tax receipt for the encroached lands to the encroachers and using that electricity connections had been obtained for the houses unauthorisedly constructed by the encroachers,” the bench noted from the report.

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