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Jaya water law

Chennai, July 22: The Jayalalithaa government today promulgated its second ordinance in a month — this time to conserve rain water, reports our special correspondent.

Earlier this month, the chief minister amended ESMA and sacked over 100,000 staff who had struck work. Today, she issued an ordinance “making it mandatory” for all buildings to have rain water harvesting structures in place by August 31.

Local bodies will not sanction building plans unless they incorporate rain water harvesting structures, she said. The structures would come up ahead of the northeast monsoon, the chief minister added.

Jayalalithaa said on her instructions building rules of local bodies had been amended to make harvesting structures mandatory, not just in buildings that were yet to come up, but even existing ones. She urged the people to cooperate with the government.

Karnataka’s refusal to release Cauvery waters to Tamil Nadu had made it imperative to “conserve every drop of rainfall”. This was adding to the people’s hardship, the chief minister said.

The ordinance contains a penalty clause saying water connections to property owners will be “disconnected” if they do not have harvesting structures in place by October 10.

Jayalalithaa hoped the government would not have to invoke the penalty clause. She said was writing to all mayors, chairpersons and vice-chairpersons of municipalities and town panchayats as well as village panchayat presidents to help launch a statewide water conservation drive.

Cheap and cost-effective harvesting structures that do not burden the rural poor could be provided, the chief minister said.

Orders have been issued to enable local bodies to install harvesting structures in existing buildings. The cost for this will be collected from property owners, she said.

Involving school children in this campaign, Jayalalithaa said she planned to award prizes and write to “every child in every class who successfully motivates his parents to provide harvesting structures in their respective homes.”

The chief minister today ordered that appointment orders be issued to two women candidates - . Priya and Meenakshi Vijayakumar – who have been selected as divisional fire officers by the state Public Service Commission. The move marks the maiden entry of women into the state’s fire and rescue services.

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