With the Madurai Bench of the Madras High Court directing the Public Works Department to remove encroachments from Devarayaneri irrigation tank on the outskirts of the city, farmers of the village are hopeful that their long-pending demand would soon be fulfilled.
Disposing of a petition filed by D.R.Karuppasamy, a resident, the High Court, in its recent order, had directed the PWD to remove the encroachments within a period of eight weeks from the date of receipt of the order.
In its counter affidavit, the PWD, the first responnent, had submitted that villagers of Devarayaneri had made representations from 2015 to remove the encroachments made in Devarayaneri tank. Since Revenue records such as A-Register, FMB, and other records were not available with the Revenue Department, a team was deputed to Chennai to trace and get the records from the archives as well as from the Survey and Settlement Office, Chennai. After hectic efforts, copies of records were obtained from Chennai and a joint field inspection was conducted on November 4, 2020.
It was found encroachments,by way of cultivation, had been made by the people belonging to the nomadic Narikuravar community in an extent of more than 120 acres out of 369.73 acres of tank. In an extent of 9.94 acres, the people from the community had constructed pucca houses and nearly 200 families were residing there. The encroachments would be evicted by due process of law, it said.
The High Court, in its judgement, said it was open to the respondents (the PWD and the District Collector, the second respondent) to consider providing alternative accommodation to the encroachers while removing the encroachments.
Welcoming the order, Mr. Karuppasamy hoped that the PWD authorities would act swiftly and remove the encroachments. “It is our long-pending demand. We do not want the habitations to be removed. It is enough if they remove the land used for cultivation by encroachers and a sign board was installed cautioning tresspassers ,” he said.
The tank is fed by the Uyyakondan canal running from Vazhavanthankottai tank. It also gets rain flows from jungle streams in Pudukottai district. It has a registered ayacut of about 600 acres, Mr. Karuppasamy said.
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