CASES ON PROTECTION OF LAKES | Centre for Science and Environment


CASES ON PROTECTION OF LAKES

Ousteri lake
Puducherry


Ousteri Lake (Osudu Lake) is one of the examples in the history of deterioration of wetlands where a long wait for the final judgment is taking the lake towards a slow death process. The Ousteri Lake protects the groundwater level and acts as an alternative source of drinking water. It is also home for different bird species. In spite of great efforts by the environmentalists, the High Court (HC) of Madras had delayed to give its verdict. Taking the full advantage of the situation, a trust has not only built a medical college on the banks of the lake but has started running it.

Ousteri plays a crucial role in recharging the ground water aquifers. It also harbors rich flora and fauna. It is an important wintering ground for migratory birds, and is been identified as one of the heritage sites by International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) and has been ranked among the most important wetlands of Asia. The story started in the year 2004, when Lakshmi Ammal Education Trust placed a proposal for construction of a medical college in front of the town planner. The department rejected the proposal in 2005 considering that its location is too close to Ousteri Lake, high ground water requirement and high wastewater generation. Later on the trust was successful in getting clear chit from Pollution Control Committee (PCC), Agriculture Department and even from the Irrigation Department. In 2006, about 21 NGOs came together and formed an Ousteri Protection Coordination Committee (OPCC).

The committee tried to raise their voice in public hearings conducted by the Pollution Control Committee. As a result the PCC asked the trust to prepare the Environment Impact Analysis report. The OPCC protested against the report. It was surprising for the local NGOs how the construction continued during the whole process.

 


OPCC filed a PIL in the HC of Madras in 2006 against the Union of India, Public Works Department (PWD), Town and Country Planning, Pondicherry Pollution Control Committee and the Trust. The HC ordered an interim injunction. In spite of repeated stay orders, the trust continued its construction and even started the admission process.

The OPCC files another PIL in the later part of 2006 pleading the HC to render justice. The court has not come up with its judgement.

 


This lake is under the PILs (W.P. No. 12277 of 2006 and WPMP No. 13848 of 2006) filed by OPCC in the HC of Madras. The judgements of both the cases are pending in the HC.

 
2004
Lakshmi Ammal Education Trust placed a proposal for construction of a medical college.
 
2005
The proposal was rejected, considering its closeness to Ousteri Lake, on grounds of high ground water requirement and high wastewater generation.

The trust was successful in getting clear chit from Pollution Control Committee (PCC), Agriculture Department and even from the Irrigation Department, and thus commenced the construction.

 
2006
About 21 NGOs came together and formed an Ousteri Protection Coordination Committee (OPCC).
 
2006
In February, OPCC raised their voice in public hearings conducted by pollution control committee (PCC). The trust was asked to prepare the Environment Impact Analysis report.
 
2006
In March, the OPCC protested against the report and filed detailed objections pointing out the various facts in the EIA which would militate against setting up a hospital/medical college in the catchments of Ousteri lake which would clearly affect water quality, air quality, flora and fauna in the area and the agriculture and livelihood of farmers in Tamil Nadu and Pondicherry.

In spite of the fact that clearance has not been issued, the construction of the project continued.

 
2006
OPCC filed a PIL in the HC in May against the Union of India, PWD, Town and Country Planning, Pondicherry Pollution Control Committee and the Trust, regarding the illegal construction of Medical College and Hospital adjacent to the Ousteri Lake.

The HC ordered an interim injunction. In spite of repeated stay orders, the trust continued its construction and even started the admission process.

 
2006
In August, OPCC files another PIL in the later part of 2006 pleading the HC to render justice.

The court has not come up with its judgment.

 
2008
The Lake was declared a sanctuary by the territorial administration during the end of 2008.

 

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