Tuesday, July 7, 2015
ODISHA ASKED TO FILE SUKTEL STATUS IN TWO WEEKS Wednesday, 08 July 2015 | PNS | BALANGIR | in Bhubaneswar
ODISHA ASKED TO FILE SUKTEL STATUS IN TWO WEEKS
Wednesday, 08 July 2015 | PNS | BALANGIR | in Bhubaneswar
The National Green Tribunal (NGT), Kolkata has directed the Water Resources Department to file status report on the Lower Suktel Project within two weeks’ time. The NGT issued this directive on Monday while looking into its earlier direction issued to department and Ministry of Environment and Forests (MoEF) on May 22 seeking replies in four weeks’ time on a petition challenging validity of the project’s environment clearance.
On Monday, the Odisha Government filed a time petition seeking three months adjournment which was rejected by the NGT. Advocate Sankar Prasad Pani appearing for the petitioners pointed out that the validity of environment clearance granted for the Lower Suktel Irrigation Project in 1998 had been lapsed in 2003 because of non-commencement of construction work within five years of the grant.
The petitioner further contended that the entire construction work going in the area since 2013 is illegal and amounts to an offence under the Environment Protection Act 1986.
Around 5,000 hectares of land, including 637 hectares of forest land, have been acquired for the project. Around 16 villages fully and 10 villages partly are apprehended to be submerged affecting 4,160 families.
“The forceful construction work started in April 2013 in presence of armed police force and with arresting of leaders of the agitating villagers, who had been opposing the forceful land acquisition,” Satya Narayan Banchhor, a project-affected person and secretary of the Lower Suktel Budi Anchal Sangram Parisad, had pointed out in his petition. On May 22, the NGT had asked State Government and MoEF to file their reply within 4 weeks as to why the injunction would not be granted in respect of ongoing construction work of the Lower Suktel Irrigation Project.