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Tiruvallur DC gets NHRC's notice against encroachments on Red Hills lake area
The National Human Rights Commission has asked the District Collector, Tiruvallur, Tamil Nadu to take steps by issuing necessary orders to the revenue officials to take action for removal of encroachments and contructions, if any, in the catchment area of Red Hills lake in Ponneri Taluk, Tiruvallur. He has been directed to report the action taken within eight weeks.
The Commission's directions come following its cognizance of a complaint seeking its intervention in the matter of human rights violation of 11 persons who died when a wall, adjoining their huts, collapsed at Upper Palayam Village near Red Hills lake, Tiruvallur district, Tamil Nadu on 5th July, 2014.

The complainants disclosed that a lot of godowns were constructed in the concerned area without the approval of the local planning authority violating the Wet Land Conservation and Management Rules, 2010.

Subsequent to its notices, the Commission, as per its press release, found that the victims or their next of kin were duly compensated and action for criminal proceedings against the erring business establishments was taken by the Government of Tamil Nadu. But the construction of the compound wall was illegal since no permission could be granted for construction on Odai Poramboke land.

This illegal compound wall obstructed the flow of water to Reservoir. Had it not been so, the tragedy could have been averted. The report of the District Collector, Tiruvallur was silent about the action taken against the officials who had failed to prevent encroachment of government land particularly of 'Odai Poramboke' was made to put up construction on it.

Justice D. Murugesan, Member of the Commission has observed that protection of water bodies is the primary responsibility of the Government. Far back in 2005, the High Court of Madras, in the judgment reported in 2005 (4) CTC 1 (L. Krishnan vs. State of Tamil Nadu) had held that when the land is classified as 'Odai Poramboke' in the revenue records, then specific steps should be taken to study encroachments on wetlands and steps required to improve the water storage facilities.

Therefore, encroachment of the land, ad-joining catchment area (Odai Poramboke) should be removed without any exception. He further observed that though the District Collector, Tiruvallur has reported that directions have been given to the revenue officers to remove encroachments on the land, it is high time that the District Administration take steps to remove all such encroachments.

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