CUTTACK: The Orissa High Court has directed the State government to treat two petitions seeking judicial intervention into diversion of water from Kharasrota river in Kendrapara to neighbouring Bhadrak district through pipeline as representations by the petitioners.
The court issued the direction while disposing of the second petition filed by Sukanta Kumar Dash and four others after the order passed by it on their first appeal yielded no result. "To avoid any further controversy, it is directed that both the earlier writ petitions as well as the present one will be treated as representations made by the petitioners to the Principal Secretary, Panchayati Raj and Drinking Water department and pass a reasoned order not later than December 20," the division bench of Chief Justice S Muralidhar and Justice BP Routray said in its September 17 order.
While disposing of the first petition filed by way of PIL by Dash and four others on July 3, the court had said, "Considering that the matter pertains to supply of safe drinking water to inhabitants of the two districts, this court deems it appropriate to direct the petitioner to make a comprehensive representation to the Principal Secretary, Panchayati Raj and Drinking Water department, who shall examine the matter and do the needful to safeguard interest of people and inhabitants of that area so as to ensure supply of drinking water safe for human consumption."
The petitioners had returned to the Court with a second petition on August 31.
As per the order issued by the court on July 3, the grievance of the petitioner is that the project has been planned to supply water from Kharasrota river which flows between Aul and Rajkanika blocks Kendrapara district to various villages of Bhadrak even though several perennial rivers like Baitarani, Salandi, Mantei, Kansabansa and Genguta flow in the heart of the district.
The river water will be extracted from Kharasrota river within the areas of saline prone Rajkanika and Aul blocks in Kendrapada district and diverted to areas in Bhadrak without supplying safe drinking water to the inhabitants of that area.
The government should distribute the Kharasrota river water among people of Rajkanika, Rajnagar and Aul blocks on natural priority as a riparian right because the groundwater there is saline and unsafe for drinking, the petitioners contended.
The petition opposed supply of Kharasrota river water to the inhabitants of Basudevpur, Dhamnagar, Tihidi and Chandabali blocks in Bhadrak district on the ground that five rivers surround them with plenty of sweet water.