Bhubaneswar: In yet another blow to Chhattisgarh on the Mahanadi issue, the National Green Tribunal (NGT) today extended its interim stay on construction of projects upstream of Mahanadi which have not yet been commissioned.
The NGT extended the interim stay issued by it on 26 July 2017 until the next date of hearing on 25 October 2017.
While Advocate General of Chhattisgarh apprised the NGT about the proceedings before the Calcutta High Court on the writ petition filed by them challenging the green watchdog’s order dated 26 July, 2017 restraining them from executing projects which have not been commissioned, the NGT today made it very clear that they have no doubt about their jurisdiction to try the matter relating to substantial question related to environment of the Mahanadi river and they are very well within their right to hear the matter on merits and pass orders from time to time.
Hence as per NGT’s July 26 order and today’s extended order, six major projects which were to draw water from the Mahanadi river for various industrial purposes cannot proceed with the same in spite of having environmental clearances granted to them by the State Level Environment Impact Assessment Authority, Chhattisgarh.
More so there are six barrage projects which have been primarily built by Chhattisgarh to supply water to 35 industrial projects, out of which ten industries are already extracting water from the river but there are 25 industrial projects which are yet to start extracting water from the river and they cannot do so until further orders from the NGT.
There are a total of 31 projects which cannot execute their operations as per the NGT’s order.
However, Chhattisgarh has prayed for time to file its responses to the rejoinder of the applicant and the affidavits of Odisha.
Notably, social activist Sudarsan Das had moved the NGT seeking a stay on the constructions saying that these projects would deeply affect the fragile ecology as well as lives of people in Odisha.