Odisha government imposes construction ban on Mahanadi riverbed

While imposing the ban the National Green Tribunal constituted a fresh committee of seven experts to assess the ecological and combined hazard vulnerability of the 3 km stretch of reclaimed riverbed.

Published: 20th June 2022 10:47 AM  |   Last Updated: 20th June 2022 10:47 AM   |  A+A-

Mahanadi River (Photo | EPS)

Mahanadi River (Photo | EPS)

By Express News Service

CUTTACK:  The State government has contested the National Green Tribunal (NGT) imposed ban on the construction of permanent nature in the 424-acre Mahanadi riverbed reclaimed for a riverfront improvement project upstream of Jobra barrage here.

The NGT had imposed the ban on February 7 after an expert committee appointed by it submitted a report recommending the prohibition of the construction of permanent structures in the reclaimed stretch of the riverbed.
While imposing the ban the NGT had constituted a fresh committee of seven experts to assess the ecological and combined hazard vulnerability of the 3 km stretch of the reclaimed riverbed. 

Social activist Pradip Pattnaik had filed the petition alleging an attempt to monetise the Mahanadi riverbed by reclaiming the vast stretch for a proposed riverfront improvement project, which had caused damage to the environment and the riverine ecosystem.

The NGT had constituted a fresh expert committee after the petitioner’s counsel stated that the previous committee had limited its report to engineering aspects in light of guidelines issued by National Disaster Management and had not considered ecological and hydrological aspects as directed by the tribunal in its order on December 15, 2020.

The committee was expected to submit its report within three months, but the Central Pollution Control Board (CPCB), the nodal agency for the fresh study sought three months more time on May 23. When the NGT’s East Zone Bench fixed September 23 as the fresh deadline for the expert committee to submit a report, the State Water Resources department’s technical committee had since submitted a report on its views regarding the ban. The technical committee’s report on the basis of return flood hydrograph for 25 years to 100 years claimed there was no risk involved in undertaking constructions of permanent nature in the portion of the reclaimed riverbed where Baliyatra is held every year.

The report said, “As the expected water level at Baliyatra ground due to high floods is either less than or equal to the average formation level of the Baliyatra ground, some construction activities can be carried out as per guidelines of National Disaster Management Authority (NDMA).”

“Since the landfill area is well-bounded by two spurs on either side, two rows of sheet piles on the riverside and ring road embankment on the southern side, a portion of the area adjacent to it may be considered for permanent construction purposes by raising the plinth level above the Top Bank-Level (TBL) which is at 25.5 metres. The structural safety aspect shall be given top priority while preparing the design,” the report also said.

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