Mahanadi row: NGT directs MoEF to visit Chhattisgarh, submit report

Bhubaneswar: The National Green Tribunal (NGT) on Monday directed the Ministry of Environment & Forests (MoEF) to visit Chhattisgarh, review the alleged illegal construction of barrages on the upper catchment areas of Mahanadi River and submit a report within three months.

The direction of the NGT came while hearing a petition filed by a social activist from Odisha, Sudarsan Das.

Speaking to OTV, petitioner Das hailed the NGT decision expressing hope that the tribunal’s verdict will help resolve the matter soon.

“The MoEF has been directed to act on the letter that it had sent to the Chhattisgarh government on September 20, 2017 in which it had labelled the barrages constructed on the upstream of the Mahanadi River as illegal. The NGT also ordered the ministry to take all the necessary measures and submit a report within three months. If the MoEF doesn’t submit a satisfactory report, I will again approach the NGT,” said Das.

Elaborating on the NGT’s direction, Das’ advocate Hritik Dutt said that the MoEF will take action in accordance to the letter it had written to Chhattisgarh terming its six projects on Mahanadi illegal as the cumulative impact assessment of the projects was not done.

Meanwhile, Advocate General of Odisha Surya Prasad Misra said, “The MoEF will have to submit a report within three months failing which the court will again take up the matter for hearing.”