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Fulfill CSR obligations in four weeks to draw Mahanadi water, Odisha HC tells IOCL

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Odisha Sun Times Bureau
Cuttack, Apr 16:

Odisha High Court today asked the Indian Oil Corporation Ltd (IOCL) to meet the conditions the court had set earlier within four weeks in order to draw water from the Jobra barrage of Mahanadi River in Cuttack for its refinery-cum-petrochemicals project at Paradip.

mahanadi barrage

The court was hearing a Misc case filed by IOCL.

The court had earlier asked the oil major to pay Rs 10 crores for the development of the pediatric hospital Sishu Bhavan in Cuttack, provide five ambulances for different hospitals in the Twin City, donate Rs 3 crores to the Commissionerate Police for modernisation of the traffic infrastructure and set up a water treatment plant under Public Health department as part of its CSR obligations before drawing water for its plant.

IOCL had filed a petition in the Supreme Court seeking relief from the February 2012 order of the High Court that would have cost the public sector behemoth approximately Rs 100 crores by way of CSR activities in Cuttack and its periphery for drawing water from the river and had managed to get a stay order. However, the apex court later upheld the High Court verdict and advised the company to meet its CSR obligations in order to draw water.

“The people of Odisha are not even getting water to drink, but you are drawing water for industrial usage. So, don’t complain. You have a lot of funds and you must spend some of your resources to carry out your Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR),” a bench of Chief Justice HL Dattu and Justice AK Sikri had told IOCL.

It may be noted that the Odisha High Court had asked IOCL in 2012 to draw water from the Mahanadi at Hadiapatha, but asked it to construct its own reservoir at Paradip to avoid drawing water during summer or periods of water crisis. It was also directed to dredge the Mahanadi River from Naraj to Jobra at its own cost and strengthen the river wall by using the sand and soil recovered from the river bed.