Even as rapid shrinking of water bodies in the city has become a matter of serious concern, the administration has imposed a ban on partial sale of ‘Jalasaya’ land, including ponds and tanks.
The Revenue Divisional Commissioner (Central) has issued directions to put a check on the unauthorised conversion of Jalasaya land through sale of portions of ponds, tanks and other water bodies. A decision to this effect was taken by the RDC-headed committee formed under the instructions of the Orissa High Court to not only monitor the status of water bodies, but also formulate strategies for their protection, preservation and revival.
The RDC has also written to the Inspector General of Registration to formulate a guideline to prevent partial sale and registration of water bodies and unauthorised conversion of such land.
The move has been made to curb the increasing trend of selling parts of water bodies and using them for construction. The vanishing water bodies have been directly linked with increase in drainage and water logging problems in the city as they had been acting as storage for rainwater in the city. They also impacted the groundwater level on which the city depends for drinking water.
Any part of the water bodies, including the embankment, cannot be sold nor can the status be changed, committee member and Collector Cuttack Girish S N said.
The Orissa High Court, in its order on October 12, last year, had directed the RDC to constitute a committee for monitoring and regulating existing water bodies, both public and private, in the city. The CMC Commissioner had been made the custodian of the water bodies and entrusted with the responsibility of formulating a strategy for their conservation and revival.
As per a report of the RDC submitted in the court on the basis of geo-satellite mapping undertaken by ORSAC, there were 424 tanks, ponds, etc in the city in 1990, which had come down to 310 in 2006. Of the surviving ones, 79 were Government and 231 private-owned water bodies.