The Madras High Court has directed the Nilgiris district collector to remove encroachments on water-bodies in the district.
It was the State's duty to clear encroachments in public places and provide facilities to the public at large, Justice S M Subramaniam said recently.
The judge gave the direction while disposing of pleas, pending for over 14 years, from six people who sought quashing of notices issued by the Revenue Inspector in Coonoor town under the Land Encroachment Act on February 3, 2004 on the ground that he had no jurisdiction to do so.
The officials concerned were bound to survey the entire land and accordingly, initiate appropriate action to evict all encroachers in that locality by following procedures as contemplated under the Tamil Nadu Land Encroachment Act, the judge said.
The judge directed the Collector to hold a review meeting with officials of all departments concerned to identify the encroachments on water-bodies, water resources and government 'poromboke' land in the entire district within his jurisdiction within two weeks.
The collector shall issue orders to officials concerned to initiate immediate action to evict all such encroachers by following procedures under the Tamil Nadu Land Encroachment Act, or the Tamil Nadu Protection of Tank and Eviction of Encroachment Act 2007,whichever is applicable, the judge said.
"In the event of any failure, negligence or dereliction of duty on the part of the officials concerned, then the collector shall initiate appropriate prosecution and departmental disciplinary proceedings against them under the discipline and appeal rules in force.
Such a clause must be stated in the circular or instructions to be issued by him," the judge said.
The judge made it clear that there cannot be any leniency or misplaced sympathy in respect of the actions to be taken against all such inefficient officials.
The Nilgiris district SP shall provide adequate protection to officials concerned for the purpose of initiating action to evict the encroachers, the judge said.
The matter was posted for reporting compliance on February 25.
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