Kendrapara: The mega drinking water project on the Kharasrota river in this district was pushed into a bigger controversy after IIT, Hyderabad refused to have given any report on environmental and social impact of the project, a report said.
The matter came to the fore after Pratap Chandra Mohanty, a resident of Talasanga village under Marshaghai block sought details from Indian Institute of Technology (IIT), Hyderabad under the Right to Information Act, August 27.
The information available under RTI says that the Indian Institute of Technology (IIT) has not given any report on the environmental and social impact of the project.
Sayeed Ali Sabir, deputy registrar of IIT, Hyderabad in an e-mail addressed to Mohanty denied IIT had given any report on the project. The deputy registrar said IIT has not received any letter from Odisha government seeking a survey on the project.
Earlier, Professor Dr Sashidhar of IIT whom the district administration had claimed to have given the report had denied to have visited the project site. In the e-mail, Dr Sashidhar also denied sending any other person in his place to the project site for a survey.
Dr Sashidhar only admitted to have submitted a report by using secondary data on environmental and social impact of the project. He even denied having made any survey on the environmental and social impact of the project on Bhitarkanika National Park.
However, the district administration is bent on implementing the project citing an IIT report. The water lifting point on Kharasrota river at Barunadiha lies in the eco-sensitive zone of Bhitarkanika while the project site is at Nuahaat in Bhadrak district.
The district administration is laying stress on implementation of the project on the basis of the said IIT report. Even Anu Garg, the then Principal Secretary of Water Resources department had filed an affidavit in the National Green Tribunal on the basis of the same report.
Khitish Kumar Singh, educationist, Bhuban Mohan Jena, president of a social outfit Jan Adhikar Abhiyan, Sanjay Kumar Behura, social activist, Bidhan Das, secretary of Kharasrota Nadi Banchao Sangram Samiti said that the IIT report which the district administration claims to have given clearance for the project is questionable.
They smelled a rat in implementation of the project which is being built with government assistance. They warned not to tolerate any wrongdoing while exploring for legal recourse against the project.
Notably, the water tank and treatment plant of the mega drinking water project is being constructed at Nuahaat under Chandbali block in Bhadrak district.
The project will supply drinking water to residents of four blocks and 3 townships in Bhadrak district. The water lifting point on Kharasrota river is being constructed on a land owned by an individual at Barunadiha under Rajkanika block in Kendrapara district.
The administration has filed two cases against 800 persons representing Kharasrota Nadi Banchao Sangram Samiti while 24 persons have been jailed in this regard.