The National Green Tribunal (NGT) has finally given its go-ahead for the water supply project of the Water Corporation of Odisha (WATCO) atop the Sikharchandi Hills in Bhubaneswar.
The tribunal had earlier put the project in abeyance after Sachin Mohapatra, a resident of Daruthenga village, had moved the tribunal alleging that trees were felled and big boulders were razed at the Sikharchandi Hills without obtaining permission from the forest department or other authorities concerned.
While hearing the petition, the tribunal delivered the order on October 20 allowing WATCO to go ahead with the construction work by ensuring that the elevated water storage tank project should remain confined to land area measuring three acres as proposed by the joint inspection committee in its report submitted on July 3.
“Though IDCO has made available four acres of land in question to WATCO for construction of the water tank for which, in any case, 3.22 acres of land is required, the joint committee has noted that as per the layout plan, three acres can be utilised. We direct WATCO not to exceed in any manner the area of three acres,” read the NGT order.
The joint inspection committee inspected the construction area and held discussions with the locals, divisional forest officer of Chandaka Wildlife Sanctuary and representatives of various stakeholders in the case.
The tribunal concluded that the area under Sikharchandi Hills is not part of any notified forest land and the hills also exist outside the eco sensitive zone of the Chandaka Sanctuary. Moreover, as the total area under construction work will be within 12140.6 sq mt, there is no need for an environmental clearance.