Cuttack: The Nationwide Inexperienced Tribunal (NGT) has rejected the Balijatra River Entrance Enchancment (BARFI) venture on 426 acres of land within the Mahanadi river mattress inside the water space of Jobra Barrage at Cuttack. The choice was taken based mostly on the suggestions of a seven-member Committee constituted to undertake a research on the ecological and hydrological points and vulnerability of the venture.

Reportedly, one Pradip Kumar Pattnaik had filed a petition with the NGT alleging the venture is an try and monetize the river mattress for business functions which can cut back the water retaining capability of the river at Jobra Barrage at Cuttack. The free move of water of the river mattress can be affected. This can have an effect on the availability of ingesting water and hinder dredging which is important. This may also add to the floods within the metropolis.

The proceedings within the matter have been reviewed on 07.02.2022 within the gentle of earlier order dated 15.12.2020 in a linked matter and affidavit filed by the Central Air pollution Management Board (CPCB) dated 04.10.2021 with a report of the Joint Committee earlier constituted by the Tribunal for identification of flood plain zone. In gentle of the suggestion that ecological and hydrological points had not been coated by the report, which was primarily based mostly on engineering points solely, the Tribunal modified the structure of the Committee to incorporate ecological and hydrological specialists. The Joint Committee filed its report on 01.09.2022

Following it, the Tribunal noticed, “…we discover it tough to simply accept the proposal of the State by the use of imaginative and prescient doc/grasp plan for constructions within the reclaimed land which is established to be a part of floodplain zone. There’s clear anticipated hazard of flooding. We’re guided by ‘precautionary precept’ below part 20 of the NGT Act. We additional agree with the suggestions of the Committee that whereas Baliyatra floor (34 acres) could also be retained, although in floodplain zone, there needs to be no additional enlargement and no concretization or compacting of the stated floor. Remaining 392 acres of land be used for plantation of native species and the world be developed right into a Organic Park and no business use be allowed. State of Odisha could take steps for floodplain zoning of different main rivers.”

The NGT solely modified or clarified the suggestions within the gentle of the suggestion of the Advocate Normal with regard to the reclaimed land that whereas 2/third of reclaimed land be developed as a dense forest, the remaining 1/third land could also be developed as parks/playgrounds with none everlasting or momentary constructions however with out permitting any business actions.

It made clear that no concretization of any kind can be allowed on the whole 426 acres of land. Whereas permitting Baliyatra in 34 acres of land, all due precautions for sustaining sanitation and hygiene shall be noticed.

The Tribunal additionally added that the State could undertake obligatory safeguards for the safety of 38 villages prone to be affected by floods within the periphery of Cuttack. The world the place the forest is to be developed could also be handed over to the forest division, after demarcation. The remainder of the world be maintained by the involved native physique/Flood and Irrigation Division, as could also be determined by the Odisha Authorities.

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