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`Inspect proposed site for fish market'

Staff Reporter

Madurai Bench directive to Pudukottai Collector

MADURAI: The Madurai Bench of the Madras High Court on Friday directed the Pudukottai Collector to inspect the site earmarked for establishing a panchayat-run fish market in the Kaatumavadi panchayat in Manamelkudi taluk and to ascertain whether the place is suitable for the facility.

Hearing a public interest litigation against setting up the market, a Division Bench headed by Justice P. Sathasivam made it clear that the report of the Collector should deal with environmental implications and threat to law and order situation.

According to the litigant, Vedarathinam (50), a former ward member of the panchayat, the district administration chose to establish the market on the Narasinga Cauvery riverbed and accordingly issued an order on April 4. Claiming that the consent of the panchayat was not obtained before taking the decision, the petitioner said the decision was against procedures envisaged under Tamil Nadu Panchayats (Opening and Maintenance of Market) Rules, 2000.

Mr. Vedarathinam also pointed out that the proposed site was classified as riverbed in revenue records and hence allowing the market would lead to large scale encroachment on the water source.

But the counsel for the panchayat denied the claim that the site was situated on the riverbed and said that the proposed market was to be held only on the riverbank.

He also brought it to the notice of the court that the panchayat had decided to run the market to earn additional revenue and to restrain some private parties from conducting an unauthorised market on the disputed place.

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