Bhubaneswar: The ongoing illegal constructions on Mahanadi riverbed near Rantilo in Cuttack has now come under the lens of the district administration after a petition was filed with the district Collector by activist Dilip Samantaray.
Samantray has moved the administration regarding the alleged encroachment of the riverbed through construction of concrete structures at Rantilo under Kishannagar tehsil of the district.
The petition alleged that such a move under the nose of the government can threaten the free flow of river water. It also reminded the district authorities of several judgements of the National Green Tribunals (NGT) and the Supreme Court which envisaged for non-construction of concrete structures on the riverbed.
The petition said, “This is further surprising to note that all such constructions were being sanctioned by government under various schemes. It is needless to mention that restrictions under 144 of CrPC were clamped on the same site considering the dispute.”
It also said the Revenue Divisional Commissioner (RDC), Cuttack had also issued stop work order along with direction to evict the structures without allowing any lease on the same plots in riverbed through his letter on March 20, 2018 to District Collector, Cuttack and copy marked to Sub-collector, Cuttack Sadar. In the same letter, it is observed that the construction of Kalyan Mandap on the river embankment will cause obstruction of flood water.
The petitioner complained that at present there are many more structures such as threshing ground, toilets, market complex, graveyards and others in pipeline and are in various stages of implementation with support of government fund.
“If these structures are allowed, the entire riverbed will be full of construction leading to flood and disaster. The wide river bed used to act as a cushion to absorb the flood water and such concrete structures by elevating the river bed may affect the course of river which will have adverse impact on the villages adjoining the river,” the petition said.
Following the petition, a team from the district administration visited the controversial site for inspection last week. However, the petitioner complained that after the official visit, the construction activities have indeed spiked.