Chennai, Oct 22 (IANS): The Madras High Court on Friday directed the Tamil Nadu government to adopt a comprehensive policy to regulate distribution of water for irrigation and drinking water purposes.
Justice S.M. Subramanian asked the state government to evolve a policy if one is not in place in the state. He also ordered periodic inspections by the Water Department to identify those who are extracting water illegally and ordered criminal cases be filed against them.
Hearing a writ petition on the illegal tapping of river water for irrigation in Erode district, he said that every wrongdoer must be prosecuted by the law and said that there is no life without water and equal distribution of water if of paramount importance and a constitutional mandate.
Justice Subramanian also said that it was the duty of the state government to distribute water equally among the people of the state without any discrimination. He also said that public interest must be kept in mind in the distribution of water.
Calling upon the government to sensitise the people on the need for optimum utilisation of water, Justice Subramanian also asked government authorities to review the registration of 'ayacuts' (area served by an irrigation project such as canal, dam, or a tank) and to take steps to regulate illegal ayacuts also for the purpose of equal distribution of water.
He also said that water should be first provided to registered ayacuts and then only to unregistered ones.