Odisha Sun Times Bureau
New Delhi, Oct 6:
The National Green Tribunal (NGT) today issued notices to the Union Ministry of Environment and Forests (MoEF), Ministry of Water Resources, governments of Chhattisgarh and Odisha and their state pollution control boards seeking their responses on a petition filed by an NGO which sought directions from it to immediately stop all construction activities on Mahanadi.
A bench of the green panel headed by Justice Jawad Rahim issued the notices seeking replies within four weeks while hearing a plea filed by NGO Nature Care Initiative.
The NGO in its petition sought directions from the NGT to stop any construction activity obstructing the natural flow of the river which is likely to adversely affect the rich and fragile bio-diversity of the Mahanadi river system.
The petitioner alleged that states of Chhattisgarh and Odisha have been constructing major and medium projects on Mahanadi without assessing its impact on water flow, ecology, and biodiversity.
The NGO contended that industries located along the river were discharging waste directly into Mahanadi which was also adversely affecting the ecosystem.
Water from barrages and dams constructed on the upper catchment of Mahanadi is being given to the industries and as a result, the water flow of the river in the downstream areas has substantially diminished. Polluted water released by these industries into the river has thoroughly polluted the downstream areas posing a serious threat to the biodiversity of Chilika, Satkosia, and Bhitarkanika, the petitioner alleged.
The petitioner further sought the NGT to direct respondent authorities to take appropriate legal action against all the Urban Local Bodies/municipal corporations/Sewerage Board, situated near Mahanadi, its tributaries and distributaries causing pollution and running without seeking prior environment clearance.