Odisha Sun Times Bureau
Cuttack, Jan 8:
The Supreme Court of India has upheld the verdict of Odisha High Court that imposed certain conditions on Indian Oil Corporation Ltd (IOCL) for drawing water from the Mahanadi River in Cuttack for its refinery-cum-petrochemicals project at Paradip.
The court asserted that IOC needs to carry out its corporate social responsibility (CSR) towards the poor and the people affected and dismissed the petition seeking relief from the High Court Order.
“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),” said a bench of Chief Justice HL Dattu and Justice AK Sikri told IOCL.
IOCL had filed a petition in the Supreme Court seeking relief from a February 2012 order of the High Court that had asked the public sector behemoth to spend approximately Rs 100 crores on CSR in Cuttack for drawing water from the river.
It may be noted that, the Odisha High Court, in 2012, had asked IOCL to draw water from the Mahanadi at Hadiapatha but asked it to construct its own reservoir at Paradip to avoid drawing water during summer season or periods of water crisis.
It had further asked the oil major to pay Rs 10 crore for the development of the paediatric hospital Sishu Bhavan of Cuttack, provide five ambulances for different hospitals, donate Rs 3 crores to the Commissionerate Police for modernisation of traffic infrastructure and set up a water treatment plant under Public Health department as part of its CSR.
The company 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. The estimated expenditure for carrying out all these directions was estimated at about Rs 100 crore.