Chennai: Madras high court on Wednesday directed all district collectors to explain as to why they failed to exercise their powers and take action against offenders extracting and transporting ground water illegally.
A division bench comprising Justices S. Manikumar and Subramoniam Prasad gave the directive on a petition filed by J. Rajesh Kumar which sought a direction to authorities to take action against persons illegally extracting and transporting groundwater.
In its order, the bench said, “District collectors of Chennai, Kancheepuram and Tiruvallur districts covered under the Chennai Metropolitan Area Ground Water (Regulation) Act, 1987, and other district collectors covered under a GO are directed to submit statements as to whether complaints have been preferred under section 10 of the Act, action taken under section 12A of the Act and also to furnish the details as to how many criminal cases are pending on the file of the competent courts in this regard. If no complaints were preferred under section 10 of the Act, all district collectors have to explain as to why they have failed to exercise their power and allowed the offenders to remain scot free”.
According to petitioner, some persons in Vallur village of Tiruvallur district dug bore well and drawing groundwater for commercial purpose without obtaining permission from competent authorities. As per the Chennai Metropolitan Area Ground Water (Regulation) Act, 1987, and rules of the year 1989 and Tamil Nadu Ground Water (Development and Management) Act, 2003, a license should be obtained for extracting and transporting ground water for any purpose other than domestic purpose.
However, without obtaining any license from the competent authorities, some persons were extracting and transporting groundwater illegally, he alleged.