Amid the ongoing row between Odisha and Chhattisgarh over sharing of Mahanadi water, an NGO today moved the National Green Tribunal seeking directions to immediately stop all construction activities on the river, prompting the green panel to seek response from the Centre and other parties on the matter.
A bench headed by Justice Jawad Rahim issued notices to Ministry of Environment and Forests, Ministry of Water Resources, governments of Chhattisgarh and Odisha and their state pollution control boards seeking their responses on it.
The NGT was hearing a plea filed by NGO Nature Care Initiative seeking direction to stop any construction activity obstructing the natural flow of the river which is likely to adversely affect the rich and fragile bio-diversity of the Mahanadi river system.
“State of Chhattisgarh and Odisha have been constructing major and medium projects on Mahanadi without assessing its impact on water flow, ecology and biodiversity…Chhattisgarh government has constructed 8 major and 34 medium irrigation projects on the upper catchment of Mahanadi river and another four major and medium projects each are under construction.
“State of Odisha is implementing several major and medium irrigation projects in the lower catchment of Hirakud dam and tributaries of Mahanadi river. While work on Manjor, Lower Indra, Lower Suktel, Ret, Dahuragoth are in progress, Ong, Brutang, Upper Lanth, Kutulisinga, Tel Integrated, Khadga, Utei Raul, Jira, Upper Udanti, Ranjor, Ahirajor, Lakshmipathar Nal, Bramhani Pad and Salki projects are in survey and investigation stage,” the plea filed through advocate Purushottam Sharma Tripathi said.
The NGO contended that industries located along the river were discharging waste directly into Mahanadi which was also adversely affecting the ecosystem.
“Direct the respondent authorities to take appropriate legal action against all the urban Local Bodies/municipal corporations/sewerage Board, situated near Mahanadi, its tributaries and distributaries causing pollution and running without seeking prior environment clearance,” it said.
The issue of sharing of Mahanadi river water has snowballed into a major controversy between the two states.
Odisha has been accusing Chhattisgarh of unilaterally constructing projects on the upstream of Mahanadi river which caused decline in the flow of its water to the state.