CUTTACK: Two separate petitions have been filed before the National Green Tribunal (NGT) on the reclamation of Mahanadi river at Cuttack for the proposed Baliyatra River Front Improvement (BARFI) project.
The reclamation of the river has been done by filling up the river bed or floodplain with dredged sand from Mahanadi barrage at Jobra and raising its level by six feet. In the process, the river has been forcefully pushed back into the middle and water stream is now at least 500 metre away from the bank.
The petitions were filed by city-based social activist Pradip Pattnaik and environmental activist Biswajit Mohanty. Both the petitions filed in the last week have sought NGT’s intervention expressing concern over reclamation of the river. Pattnaik, who has filed the petition through advocate Sisir Das, has sought NGT’s direction for removal of the dumped dredged sand from the river bed or floodplain area.
“The river front projects are ecologically dangerous and cosmetic projects that do not restore respect and enhance the vital river ecosystems that thrive, or once thrived in and around the river, restored and enhanced, regardless of how high the commercial and profit-making values add to the economy,” Mohanty contends in his petition.
Pattnaik has sought intervention against change of revenue status of river bed (nadi) to anabadi (patita) in the record to pave the way for the project. Both the petitions have expressed apprehensions that the city would become vulnerable to inundation during high floods due to reclamation of the river. In his petition, Mohanty said, “At times of a high flood in Mahanadi river, the water is likely to spill over the banks and enter the city and cause serious flood.”