ISSN (Print) - 0012-9976 | ISSN (Online) - 2349-8846

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Judiciary and the Destruction of Chennai’s Wetlands

This article investigates the impact of court verdicts on Chennai’s canals, tanks and related wetlands. It discusses three interlinked cases surrounding Buckingham Canal area and argues that the verdicts in these cases allowed the administration to destroy sophisticated water systems. It also argues that these waterbodies could have mitigated, if not prevented, the November–December 2015 floods in Chennai.

The proceedings of a high profile seminar organised in 2010 by the Chennai Metropolitan Development Authority (CMDA) began with the following statement:

In spite of the fact that the CMA [Chennai Metropolitan Area] has a long drainage and extensive water storage system of tanks and reservoirs, it suffers from annual flooding of developed urban areas. At present most of these water bodies are not in their original state (CMDA 2010).

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