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Suryakant Jena

Bhubaneswar: The National Green Tribunal (NGT) has today sent notices to Odisha government for constructing a drinking water supply project on forestland without obtaining necessary environmental clearance in Kendrapara.

According to sources, the drinking water project, the foundation stone for which was laid by CM Naveen Patnaik on December 8, 2018, is being constructed at a cost of Rs 241 crore on a forestland near Manikunda village under Marshaghai tehsil of Kendrapara district.

The project, supervised by the Panchayati Raj and Drinking Water departments is being built by L&T on a total land of 15.43 acre. However, as per the letter by the NGT, the State government has undertaken the project without obtaining environmental clearance from the Union government under Forest Conservation Act, 1980.

Taking cognizance of pleas by RTI activists, Sampad Swain and Alaya Samantaray, the country’s top environmental watchdog has asked Kendrapara district collector and Cuttack Divisional Forest Officer to submit a report in connection with the matter.

In the letter, the NGT has asked the district magistrate and Cuttack DFO to jointly conduct an inspection of the area in question and after verification of the facts, submit a report within 2 weeks.

“In the event of the allegations are found to be correct, appropriate action in accordance with law be instituted and the result thereof be also included in the Action Taken Report," the letter by the NGT stated.

The NGT has also made the State Chief Secretary, Forest and Environment department Principal Secretary, Central Range RDC, district Rural Drinking Water Supply division executive enginner and Cuttack DFO parties in the matter.

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