HC forms expert panel for river islet constructions

Cuttack: The Odisha High Court has formed a five-member expert committee to study and report within three weeks as to whether permanent constructions on Mahanadi islet at Hadia Patha would pose any threat to Cuttack city from floods.

The committee has also been asked to find out whether the intake well constructed at the site for supply of water to IOC`s proposed oil refinery in Paradeep by any means affect the availability of surface water, ground water and drinking water for the city.

The committee would also see to it that whether the diversion of river water for IOC would affect the irrigation of agricultural land depending upon Taladanda canal which originates at Jobra, a few meters downstream of Hadia Patha.

A division bench of Justice B P Das and Justice M M Das constituted the committee on Thursday by appointing former chief engineer of irrigation department S M Patnaik as its chairman.

Asking the committee to submit its report within three weeks, the High Court has asked the panel to consult the state government, the petitioner Nationalist Lawyers` Forum and IOC before preparing its report.

They would also suggest ways as to how IOC would get the required amount of water for its proposed oil refinery. A PIL had alleged that if construction is allowed in the islet then it would spell doom for Cuttack which is surrounded by rivers from all three sides.