Stay on 31 ongoing projects over Mahanadi

Source: The Hitavada      Date: 28 Jul 2017 10:12:56


Staff Reporter,


The National Green Tribunal, Eastern Zone Bench, Kolkata, by an order issued on July 26, 2017, has directed the Chhattisgarh government not to initiate construction works on all such projects over River Mahanadi in Chhattisgarh, where construction works are yet to begin. With the order issued by NGT the construction works in seven projects including six Grade A projects over River Mahanadi has been stayed. The order was issued by Justice S P Wangdi, Judicial Member and Prof (Dr) P C Mishra, Expert Member, NGT Eastern Zone Bench, Kolkata, while hearing the petition filed by Sudarshan Das, Convener of Agami Odisha, a social organization.

The NGT Eastern Zone Bench in its order stated “since the entire matter is in seisin (legal possession) by us, we expect the State of Chhatishgarh not to proceed with those projects which have not yet been taken up for execution.” It further listed the issue for next hearing on August 28 on the question of interim order.

Meanwhile, in a communiqué issued by the state government, it has clarified that out of 58 total numbers of projects, 51 are under construction. The NGT Eastern Zone has ordered not to start construction on projects which are yet to begin till next hearing, i.e., on August 25. Thus the order has put on hold the initiation of construction works on seven projects, which are yet to begin.

Giving his brisk reaction on the issue, Chief Minister Dr Raman Singh said this is not the final decision. The state government will file review petition in this direction. He further added that on July 29, he will be attending a seminar being organized by National Green Tribunal, to be held at Naronha Administrative Academy in Shahpura, Bhopal. He said he will take up the matter there also during the meeting.

According to petitioner Sudarshan Das, the order will be applicable on projects, where the construction works are due to begin. These projects have already received the necessary environment clearances but the work will not start until the embargo is lifted by NGT. Sudarshan Das in his petition has urged the National Green Tribunal to immediately intervene and stop construction of these projects in Chhattisgarh because these projects will not only influence the environment but will also have affect on the livelihood of people of Odisha.

During the hearing on Wednesday, Bikas Kargupta appeared on behalf of Chhattisgarh government and prayed for time to file affidavit-in-opposition.
Allowing the prayer made by Advocate on behalf of the Chhattisgarh government, the National Green Tribunal directed to file show cause as to why the prayer for interim order sought for on behalf of the applicant be not allowed. It stated that let the affidavit-in-opposition and the show cause notice be filed without fail before the next date when the question relating to this shall be heard.

Rohit Singh, while appearing on behalf of Chhattisgarh Environment Conservation Board and Chhattisgarh State Level Environment Impact Assessment Authority, also prayed for leave to file affidavit-in-opposition, which the NGT East Zone Bench granted and took into record. Similarly, the affidavit filed by Advocate Pravat Kr Muduli on behalf of Government of Odisha was also ordered to be taken on record. The NGT Bench also maintained that since the affidavits have been served on the applicant, he can file his response thereto.