Chennai, Sep 7: Madras High Court on Sept 6 directed the Tamil Nadu government to look into suggestions made in a PIL against mindless conversion of wetland areas so as to avert flooding in the city like last year.
A bench comprising Chief Justice Sanjay Kishan Kaul and Justice R Mahadevan gave the directive while disposing of the petition which advocated amendment of Section 47-A of the Tamil Nadu Town and Country Planning Act 1971 to impose certain conditions for preservation of the wetland areas.
Petitioner S D Premchand, former chairman of Madurantakam Municipality, while referring to last year deluge cited a news report which said one of the main causes of the flooding was that wet lands in the city had shrunk from 80 per cent in the 1980s to just 15 per cent now due to unplanned rampant urbanisation.
He contended that in order to prevent mindless misuse of lands adjoining water bodies like lakes conditions may be incorporated in Section 47-A of the Tamil Nadu Town and Country Planning Act 1971.
He attributed the flooding last year to unauthorised constructions carried out by encroaching water bodies and near them. The bench, referring to a full court judgement on the issue, in its order said what was classified as a water body area cannot be converted for any other use.
"Thus, in our view that approach would also equally have to be applied by keeping in mind the problem of conversion of wet land areas for urbanisation," it said.
"We would call upon the State government to look into the suggestions of the petitioner for amendment of the section to further subserve the intent of the amendment carried out on January 1, 2011 for preserving the wet land areas." The petitioner had advocated an appropriate amendment could be considered to the effect that no development/construction should be allowed at any cost in wetlands.