Mundiyambakkam Lake is spread over an area of 42 acres adjacent to the Villupuram Town. The only source of water to the Mundiyambakkam Lake is the surplus water from the Orathur Lake, which is stated to be about 5 kilometres away from Mundiyambakkam Lake. The farmers in the area depend heavily on the groundwater for irrigation and the groundwater level in the area has already reached 200 ft below the ground level. The water storage in the lake is the only source to replenish the depleting groundwater in the area. In 2007, the state government laid a foundation of a medical college by encroaching 18.20 hectares of lakebed area. About 100 crores of rupees had been sanctioned.
About eight people (K.Balamurugan, P.Kalyani, M.Kanthasamy, P.V.Ramesh, M.Nagarajan, P.A.Lucia, A.K.Arumugam, V.Antony Cruz) moved to the Madras High Court in the year 2007 under Article 226 of the Constitution of India to stop the construction of the college. There were two Miscellaneous Petitions and ultimately the court allowed the construction of the college and directed the state government to take care of water harvesting in the area to control the depleting groundwater level.
This case (W.P. No.26314 of 2007 and M.P. Nos.1 & 2 of 2008) has been settled in the Madras HC. The followings are the highlights of court judgement, government and citizens' actions.
May 19-foundation stone laid in the Mundiyabakkam lake bed for construction of medical college.
August- Eight people filed petition against the construction in the lakebed.
August 9 hearing-The Madras High Court puts a stay order. A three-member team was deputed by the court to inspect the tank.
A report by the District Collector dated 12.08.2008, along with the photographs taken during the visit was also filed.
The petitioners filed objection against the report
The Revenue Department permitted the Health and Family Welfare Department to enter upon the proposed site through G.O.Ms.No.258. Subsequently in G.O.Ms.No.602, dated 19.10.2007, the Government ordered for reclassification of the lands as Health and Family Welfare Department, Government Medical College, Villupuram and closely followed by that also made changes in the village and taluka accounts with effect from 29.10.2007.
Consequent upon the issuance of G.O.Ms.No.602, dated 19.10.2007, the Tahsildar, Villupuram carried out changes in the Village / Taluka accounts in respect of Survey No.144/1 and other Survey numbers incorporating the name of the Government Medical College as against the original entries of the respective water bodies.
September hearing-The HC allowed the construction of the college but directed the State Gov. to provide artificial percolation system in and around the district, apart from implementing RWH system in the entire district to overcome the crisis so as to provide a long-standing solution to the vexed problem.