Court directs Chennai Collector to inspect water body under encroachment in Sembium

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The Madras High Court on Thursday directed the Chennai Collector to inspect a spot where over 100 acres of land, reportedly classified as a water body in the revenue records, at Sembium near Perambur, have been allegedly encroached upon by “land sharks” and sold to private individuals after subdividing the property.

Justices N. Kirubakaran and T.V. Thamilselvi ordered the Collector to carry out the inspection in the presence of other revenue officials and identify the extent of encroachment on the government property as well as the number of encroachers in occupation at present. They called for a comprehensive report by July 14.

The judges also requested Advocate General R. Shunmugasundaram to ensure that adequate attention was accorded to the issue since many water bodies in the State had already vanished due to massive encroachments and the State could not afford to lose any more. They insisted that the government take earnest efforts to protect water bodies.

The interim orders were passed on a public interest litigation petition filed by G. Devarajan, a job typist from Sembium. He claimed that the encroached properties had been used even to obtain bank loans and that some Registration Department officials were also in collusion. He insisted upon demolishing the superstructures constructed on the encroached land and disconnecting water and sewage connections.

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