KENDRAPARA: The National Green Tribunal (NGT) eastern zone branch, Kolkata has issued notices to the Central and Odisha governments seeking clarification on alleged non-compliance to environmental and social impact study on the Rs 892 crore drinking water project on Kharasrota river in Kendrapara district.
Acting on a petition moved by Kshitish Kumar Singh, a division bench of NGT comprising Justice Amit Sthalekar and judicial member Saibal Dasgupta issued the notices returnable within four weeks to the governments over non-compliance of environment and social impact assessment for the mega project stating that it is likely to adversely affect the ecology of the Bhitarkanika National Park.
Acting on the petition, the division bench observed that “the matter requires consideration”.
The petitioner’s counsel Anshuman Nayak submitted that the affidavit filed before the tribunal by the Principal Secretary, government of Odisha’s Water Resources Department has misled the tribunal as well as the people.
The Environmental Impact Assessment study in the mega drinking water project has not been done at all as stated by the government agencies.
A monitoring committee for the Bhitarkanika National Park eco-sensitive zone, which gave its nod for the project, was constituted without quorum, he claimed.
The committee had reported that a study on Environment and Social Impact Assessment (ESIA) was conducted by the Department of Civil Engineering, Indian Institute of Technology, Hyderabad prior to the commencement of the project work.
However the IIT panel had never visited the site and the study report was based on secondary data only, the petitioner’s counsel submitted.
The NGT order was issued on October 4.
The Rs 892 crore Buxi Jagabandhu Assured Water Supply to Habitations (BASUDHA) water project which seeks to divert water of Kharasrota river in Rajkanika block of Kendrapara, had evoked protests across Kendrapara district since the past two months.
As a precautionary measure, prohibitory orders had been enforced in Balakati, Bharigada and Barunadiha panchayats under Rajkanika block till October 8.
The project seeks to provide safe drinking water to villages in Bhadrak district where the groundwater table is reported to be heavily salinated.