Chennai, Aug 31: The Madras High Court today observed that a disaster management plan should have been drafted into the provisions of the Disaster Management Act, 2005 a long time ago and had that been done, possibly the situation which arose in December last in Chennai could have been avoided.
The first bench comprising Chief Justice Sanjay Kishan Kaul and Justice R Mahadevan, was hearing a batch of petitions finding fault with the state government with regard to the release of excess water from Chemberubakkam reservoir during the rains in December first week last year.
When the pleas came up, an affidavit was filed by the Revenue Department. The bench said the affidavit only states that "as per the mandate of Section 23(1) of the Disaster Management Act, 2005, the draft State Disaster Management Plan was prepared during 2010 which was shared with the National Disaster Management Authority and thereafter, updated by the National Disaster Management of Anna Institute of Management as per the National Disaster Management Authority guidelines".
"The fact remains that after six years, the plan is still at the draft stage. The Disaster Management Plan should have been drafted into the provisions of the said Act a long time ago and had that been done, possibly the situation which arose last year in December could have been avoided," it said. On an affidavit filed by PWD, the bench said there were contradictory statements and observed that there was reluctance to take action against encroachments on Adyar and Cooum rivers and Buckingham canal.
It said the affidavits filed by the authorities concerned were unacceptable to it.
"We are thus of the view that keeping in mind all the aforesaid aspects, a better affidavit needs to be filed on behalf of the authorities concerned. The affidavit should be filed within a week," it said.
The bench directed the high court registry to post all the matters relating to "water areas" before it and posted the matter for further hearing to September 7.