Mahanadi riverfront plan hits NGT wall, no construction allowed

It further stated that area where forest is to be developed may be handed over to the Forest department after demarcation.

Published: 24th September 2022 04:11 AM  |   Last Updated: 24th September 2022 04:11 AM   |  A+A-

The National Green Tribunal.(File photo | EPS)

The National Green Tribunal.(File photo | EPS)

By Express News Service

CUTTACK: The State government’s Mahanadi riverfront development plan received a decisive blow with the National Green Tribunal (NGT) refusing to accept the proposal for constructions on the 426 acre reclaimed land as it is established to be part of a flood plain zone.A five-member bench headed by Justice Adarsh Kumar Goel said, “There is clear anticipated danger of flooding. We are guided by ‘precautionary principle’ under section 20 of the NGT Act.”  

The 426 acre of river bed was reclaimed by dumping sand dredged from the reservoir area of Jobra barrage over a stretch of five km in length and width 0.5 km to 1.2 km upstream up to a height of 6 feet. The bench said, “While 2/3rd of reclaimed land be developed as a dense forest, the remaining 1/3rd may be developed as parks/playgrounds without any permanent or temporary constructions but without allowing any commercial activities. It is made clear that no concretisation of any sort will be allowed on the entire 426 acre of land. While allowing Baliyatra on 34 acre of land, all due precautions for maintaining sanitation and hygiene shall be observed.”

It further stated that area where forest is to be developed may be handed over to the Forest department after demarcation. “Rest of the area be maintained by concerned local body/Flood and Irrigation department, as may be decided by the Odisha government,” the green panel ordered while ruling out restoration of the reclaimed river bed on grounds of viability.

Acting on two petitions, the Tribunal had appointed a committee to assess the ecological impact and combined hazard vulnerability of the reclaimed river bed. The tribunal observed, “We further agree with the  recommendations of the committee that while Baliyatra ground (34 acre) may be retained, though in floodplain zone, there should be no expansion and concretisation or compacting of the said ground.

Green restrictions

 The NGT anticipated danger of flooding in Mahanadi river due to construction activities
 The panel has directed to develop 2/3rd of reclaimed land as dense forest
 It also made clear that no concretisation of any sort will be allowed on the entire 426 acre of land



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