September 08, 2016
By S V Krishna Chaitanya
New Indian Express
CHENNAI: The southern bench of the National Green Tribunal (NGT) on Wednesday has directed the State government to restore the right to access to clean drinking water with immediate effect for the affected villagers in the State Industries Promotion Corporation of Tamil Nadu (SIPCOT) estate in Cuddalore. Invoking the polluter pays principle, the green tribunal has asked SIPCOT industries to pay the cost.
The interim order was passed in a case filed by petitioners S Pugazhendhi, S Sivshankar and GK Amirthalingam, hailing from Sangolikuppam, Semmankuppam and Eachangadu villages respectively, which are among the 21 worst-affected villages falling under three different panchayats.
Though the petition was filed about 18 months ago and notices were issued, SIPCOT had not filed its reply till date, incurring the wrath of the bench, which comprised Justice P Jyothimani and expert member PS Rao.
Noted environmental lawyer Ritwick Dutta, who appeared for the cause of villagers, told Express that this is the first interim order passed by the bench in the case. “The first priority of the villagers was to have potable drinking water. Whether water will be supplied through tankers or any other means is for the SIPCOT industries and the government to decide.”