Rejuvenate ‘dead’ river by March 2023, NGT tells Odisha govt

Green panel also orders to complete the project by March 13, 2023

Published: 01st October 2022 06:23 AM  |   Last Updated: 01st October 2022 06:23 AM   |  A+A-

The National Green Tribunal.(File photo | EPS)

The National Green Tribunal.(File photo | EPS)

By Express News Service

CUTTACK: The eastern zone bench of the National Green Tribunal (NGT) has directed the State government to sanction budgetary allocation of Rs 4967.13 lakh towards rejuvenation of Sukapaika Drainage Channel project by March 2023 to mitigate the drinking water crisis of at least three blocks of Cuttack district.

A two-member bench of NGT responding to a petition by Swarup Kumar Rath and six others passed the order on Wednesday, directing the government agencies to complete the budget allocation process within one month for implementation of the project.

The green panel also ordered completion of the project by 13 March, 2023 for the benefit of people in Cuttack Sadar, Raghunathpur and Nichintakoili blocks of Cuttack district. “We, therefore, direct the State Respondents that in case the proposed budgetary allocation of Rs 4967.13 lakh for rejuvenation of Sukapaika Drainage Channel has not been made by the government, the same shall be made within a period of one month for which purpose a copy of this judgment shall be placed before the Chief Secretary, State of Odisha for appropriate orders.

“The State respondents have to complete the entire project for rejuvenation of Sukapaika River Drainage Channel by March 13 2023 and file an affidavit of compliance in this regard,” the NGT bench said.
The petition filed by Rath and others had alleged that the government agencies closed the mouth of river Sukapaika (a branch of river Mahanadi) obstructing the free flow of perennial water source of the river by creation of a dry island by way of encroachment of the river bed by land grabbers.

They also alleged that sand is being collected illegally by the encroachers and the entire bed has also become a dumping ground for garbage and solid and liquid waste, thereby polluting the entire area.
“The Sukapaika river has been dead for several decades causing grave hardship to the local people who are dependent on it for drinking water as well as for agricultural purposes and that the said river must be rejuvenated.

This will also help in recharging the ground water as well as maintaining the water level in the natural water bodies around the area”, the petitioners’ counsel Sisir Das had apprised the NGT. The mouth of the river was closed in 1950 for development of Taladanda Canal System and for flood protection in the delta of Sukapaika.



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