NGT Slaps Fine on BDA Secretary for Irresponsible Affidavit

Cuttack: The National Green Tribunal (NGT) has fined the Secretary of Bhubaneswar Development Authority (BDA), Rabindra Kumar Sahoo, Rs 500 for filing an affidavit in a “casual and irresponsible manner” regarding the elevated water storage tank project at Sikharchandi hill near Bhubaneswar.

The petitioner, Sachin Mohapatra, had raised concerns about the environmental damage caused by the construction of the water tank project by the Water Corporation of Odisha (WATCO) at Sikharchandi Hill, adjacent to the Chandaka Wildlife Sanctuary. Sahoo’s affidavit failed to mention his department or office, displaying a lack of seriousness. The NGT instructed him to submit a corrected affidavit within 24 hours.

The NGT had earlier suspended the project on Sikharchandi Hill and asked the BDA’s counsel to file a counter affidavit and the petitioner’s counsel to file a rejoinder affidavit by a specified date.

The spot inquiry report revealed that WATCO had claimed an acute shortage of drinking water in Bhubaneswar, justifying the construction of the water tank. However, permission for felling trees had not been obtained, leading to vulnerability to erosion due to vegetation removal. The committee recommended compensatory measures such as plantation and soil conservation.

Residents of 15 villages in five panchayats opposed the indiscriminate felling of trees in Sikharchandi, which covers 212.5 acres, as it held religious significance for them. They also noted the government’s conflicting stance, promoting the area’s redevelopment as a tourist destination for its flora and fauna while allowing the removal of green cover.

You might also like

Comments are closed.