BHUBANESWAR: The Supreme Court-appointed Vansadhara Water Disputes Tribunal (VWDT) on Friday directed Odisha and Andhra Pradesh governments to carry out a joint survey by technical committees of the two States in Neredi project area to end the conflict over water sharing of Vansadhara river.
Hearing the grievances of the two States, the tribunal asked both to form technical committees to conduct a joint survey under the supervision of experts of Central Water Commission (CWC). The tribunal posted its next hearing to July 8.
Sources said both committees will carry out the survey after holding talks with CWC. The survey will be carried out in over 100 acres in Odisha which are likely to be affected and submerged due to Neredi barrage project.
Neredi barrage project, which received a go ahead from the tribunal in 2013, requires 106 acre in Odisha and the proposed land is feared to affect people of 26 villages in Gajapati and Rayagada districts. It is also claimed that the project would lead to siltation and change of course of the river.
The Odisha Government has also alleged that Katragadda and Neredi projects on Vansadhara have been undertaken by the neighbouring State without approval from the CWC.
In December 2016, a three-member team of the tribunal, led by Dr Justice Mukunda Sharma, had visited Sara and Badigaon villages under Kasinagar block in Gajapati and interacted with the villagers who are likely to be affected by side wier canal of Katragadda and Neredi barrages. The tribunal had earlier sought replies from the Centre and Andhra Pradesh regarding the project.
Meanwhile, activist Prasana Bisoi slammed Odisha Government for its failure to construct any such barrage on the river at Pani Dangara for proper utilisation of the river water. “Instead of spending lakhs on lawyers in the case, the State Government should immediately take measures to construct barrage on the river for which it had identified land near Pani Dangara,” Bisoi said.