CHENNAI: The Madras High Court directed the Chennai Corporation today to file a detailed status report with regard to various steps taken to prevent waterlogging and drain out water in the city.
It also directed the authorities concerned to expedite within three months removal of unauthorised encroachments on water bodies and canals and remove unauthorised constructions and structures blocking drainage systems and outlets.
The court asked the civic body to install pumpsets to remove accumulated water. Arrangements shall be made to provide shelter and food to the affected people in waterlogged areas, the first bench comprising Chief Justice Indira Banerjee and Justice M Sundar said.
The bench was hearing a PIL filed by advocate A P Suryaprakasam for a direction to the government to draw up a time-bound action plan and immediately form a ground-level disaster management committee to face the monsoon.
After going through a report filed by Advocate General Vijay Narayan, the bench in its order said, "The Chennai Corporation shall, within November 10, file a detailed status report with regard to various steps taken to prevent waterlogging and drain out accumulated water." The petitioner submitted that about 100 lives were lost in the 2015 deluge and alleged that no preventive steps like desilting of water bodies were taken up by the government after that.
The petitioner alleged that the government had not prepared itself to face the monsoon and cited some photos in newspapers showing people wading through waterlogged areas.
He said if steps were taken to clean the storm water drains, waterlogging could have been avoided.
The Advocate General, on his part, showed some photos with regard to desilting works undertaken by government in various canals. He said even after eviction, people were still encroaching on these areas.
Stating that the court can only pass orders and it cannot run the state, the chief justice said, "You should take a long term plan for putting up underground pipes that carry storm water." The bench posted the matter for further hearing to November 10.