Kendrapara: The state government’s affidavit at the National Green Tribunal (NGT) about the diversion of the Kharasrota river water to Bhadrak has come under cloud.
According to reports, Sanjay Behrua, a resident of Rajkanika, had filed a petition at the National Green Tribunal on the controversial mega drinking water project that envisages diversion of water to 91 villages in Bhadrak.
The NGT had asked the government to report about the socio-environmental impacts of the drinking water project. The state government had filed its affidavit at the NGT on the basis of the report prepared by Prof Dr Sashidhar of IIT-Hyderabad.
The affidavit has now come into question after Dr Sashidhar denied via email that he had conducted any special survey about the impacts of the mega drinking water project on the Bhitarkanika National Park.
Various outfits have demanded a survey by a technical team about the impacts of the drinking water project on the environment and agriculture.
Despite opposition by the locals, the government has started construction of an intake well of the project at Barunadiha panchayat. To ward off troubles by locals, the administration has clamped Sec-144 around the project area before its construction.
The project entails supply of Kharasrota water to 91 panchayats and three urban areas under Basudevpur, Tihidi, Dhamnagar and Chandbali blocks in Bhadrak.
Sanjay Behura of Rajkanika alleged that diversion of the Kharasrota water would have an adverse impact on fresh water, agriculture and environment in Aul and Rajkanika areas.
He filed a case (23/20) in 2020 at the NGT. Secretary of the water resources department Anu Garg filed an affidavit at the NGT.
In the affidavit, it was stated that there was no negative take by Dr Sashidhar of IIT Hyderabad in his report about the impacts of the drinking water on socio-environmental spheres.
Though the intake well at Barunadiha and the treatment plant at Nuahat are well within the Bhitarkanika Eco Sensitive Zone, the project was given a go-ahead. Rakesh Mohanty wanted to know of the veracity of the report given by Dr Sashidhar.
Mohanty had both telephonic and email communication with Dr Sashidhar August 26 about the socio-environmental impacts of the mega drinking water project.
It was claimed that Dr Sashidhar had not done any special survey on Bhitarkanika biodiversity and had not even visited the project site.
Sanjay Behura, Khitish Kumar Singh, Pradip Kumar Tarai, Duryodhan Mohanty (president of Kharasrota Nadi Bachao Sangram Samiti) and Bhuban Mohan Jena (Jana Adhikar Manch) said the water of Kharasrota is vital for sustenance of Bhitarkanika mangroves, which has been in the list of World Heritage sites.
They alleged that the state government has been carrying out the mega drinking water project on the basis of a wrong report.
They said, “A technical team should conduct a survey on the impacts of the drinking water on Bhitarkanika biodiversity. Or else, we will take to legal recourse in this matter.”