Odishatv Bureau

Bhubaneswar:  In yet another setback for Chhattisgarh government, the National Green Tribunal (NGT) on Thursday extended stay on construction work on the barrages on Mahanadi River till next hearing.

The NGT has directed to stop all construction work of all the projects on Mahanadi River which have not yet been commissioned till the next hearing scheduled to be held on October 25.

Earlier, the Calcutta High Court on Wednesday had asked Chhattisgarh to withdraw the writ petition challenging an order of Kolkata bench of NGT to halt construction of 31 projects undertaken by the State on the Mahanadi River.

The Bench comprising acting Chief Justice Nishita Mhatre and Justice Tapabrata Chakraborty directed Chhattisgarh to withdraw the petition failing which the bench will pass order of non-maintainability. The court adjourned hearing on the matter till November 2 on specific request of Chhattisgarh.

The fresh NGT order has come as a major jolt for Chhattisgarh which was arbitrarily going ahead with the construction of barrages despite repeated objections by Odisha.

The latest order was issued by NGT after hearing a matter relating to environmental flow and cumulative impact of various projects of Chhattisgarh.

As per the tribunal’s order issued on 26.07.2017 and today’s extended order, “6 major projects which were to draw water from the Mahanadi River for various industrial purposes cannot proceed with the same in spite of having environmental clearances granted to them by the State level Environment Impact Assessment Authority, Chhattisgarh.”

At present, there are 6 barrage projects built to supply water to 35 industrial projects, out of which 10 industries are already extracting water from the river. However, 25 industrial projects which are yet to start extracting water from the river cannot do so until further orders from the tribunal. There are a total of 31 projects which cannot execute their operations till next hearing.

Also read: Mahanadi row: Chhattisgarh’s writ petition against NGT order not maintainable, says Calcutta HC