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Tamil Nadu - Coimbatore Printer Friendly Page   Send this Article to a Friend

‘No house site pattas on water bodies'

Special Correspondent

‘High Court order is clear on this'

COIMBATORE: The district administration and the Coimbatore Corporation have asserted that house site pattas will not be given on water bodies for the construction of houses for slum dwellers.

This categorical assertion was made at a recent meeting held at the Corporation to elicit the views of various stakeholders on the civic body's Rs.125-crore project for the rejuvenation of eight water bodies in the city under the Jawaharlal Nehru National Urban Renewal Mission.

Conveying this assertion through a press release, the civic body said the meeting had been organised to elicit the views of water resources activists and various stakeholders.

One of the views was that the areas on the margins of the tanks should be allocated to the slum dwellers living there for 80 years. The rest of the tank space should be rejuvenated.

Reacting to this suggestion, District Collector P. Umanath and Corporation Commissioner Anshul Mishra pointed out the High Court had ordered that encroachments should not be allowed on water bodies.

As for those living in the slums on the water bodies, a housing scheme (Basic Services for Urban Poor) was being implemented under the same mission. Multi-storey tenements were being constructed at Ammankulam and Ukkadam in the city to re-locate these people.

The request for the pattas was made despite the Commissioner having stated clearly at a Corporation Council meeting a few months ago that pattas would not be given on water bodies. The court order was clear on this and there need not be any confusion over it, he had said.

The Commissioner was responding to a persistent demand from a councillor that houses should be constructed on that very portion of a tank that was encroached by slums.

Siruthuli, a public initiative to conserve water resources, suggested that feeder canals that brought water to the tanks should be maintained well. Only then would rain water flow into the tanks.

It was not enough if recreation facilities alone were created and maintained around the tanks. The removal of silt and other measures for maintenance should be sustained in order to ensure that water flowed into the tanks. Ground water level would rise only if the tanks were full of water. Siruthuli had already de-silted the tanks as part of a people's initiative.

A call to prevent the dumping of debris in tanks was made at the meeting. The public should desist from turning the tanks into debris dumps.

A separate place for dumping these should be specified. The discharge of sewage into the tanks should also be prevented.

Environmental activists cautioned against creating recreation facilities for the public that could prevent migratory birds visiting the tanks.

Every year, 174 species of birds visited these tanks. If too many people flocked to the tanks in the name of recreation, this could disturb the birds and even prevent them from coming here, they said.

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