Bansadhara Tribunal Team To Visit Gajapati District Today

Paralakhemundi: A three-member team of representatives of the Bansadhara River Water Disputes Tribunal formed by the Supreme Court will visit the rivers areas in Gajapati district on Tuesday.

The team, led by the Tribunal chairman Justice Dr Mukumdakam Sharma and the two members of the Tribunal Justice BN Chaturvedi and Justice Pratibha Rani, will visit Sara and Badigan villages in Khandva panchayat of Kashinagar block in the district and interact with the people.

The team on Monday had visited Hiramandalam, Gotta, Neredi and Katragada Phase-II areas in Andhra Pradesh where the government of the neighbouring state had built barrages across the river. The team was accompanied by senior lawyer of Odisha Mohan B Chatterjee and two lawyers of Andhra Pradesh CS Baidyanathan and Y Rajgopal Rao, Chief Engineer, Water Resources of the Odisha government Akshaya Banerjee, retired Chief Engineer Arun Padhi and senior engineers of the Andhra Pradesh government.

It may be mentioned here that the Odisha government had filed a review petition on the verdict of Bansadhar River Water Disputes Tribunal on September 13, 2017, which was in favour of the Andhra Pradesh government. Hearing the petition on December 5, 2018, Justice Sharma and the two aforesaid members of the Tribunal had decided for a field visit to the affected areas of Andhra Pradesh and Odisha.

“The team which went on a field visit to the project areas in Andhra Pradesh yesterday will visit the affected areas of Odisha today. After the visit, the team will return to New Delhi and submits its report to the Supreme Court,” Banerjee told mediapersons.

The team conducted a detailed survey of Bansadhara project areas in Andhra Pradesh. However, it has not given any opinion on the outcome of the barrages constructed by the neighbouring state. The Supreme Court had allowed the Andhra Pradesh government to use Bansadhara river water. Odisha is demanding that it should be ensured that no area in the state is affected by the project.

The Odisha government had earlier filed a writ petition in the Supreme Court to direct the Andhra Pradesh government to use the Bansadhara river water after it reaches 8000 cusecs and above, take the necessary step to stop artificial flood and provide compensation to the displaces families.

The Bansadhara river, which has its origin from Tentuligada village in Kalahandi district has a total catchment area of 10,830 sq km of which 8960 sq km is in Odisha. The total length of the river, which falls into the Bay of Bengal, is about 254 km with a stretch of about 155 km in Odisha.

While the Andhra Pradesh government has built two barrages on the river at Gotta and Hiramandalam, construction of another barrage at Neredi had begun during the tenure of NT Rama Rao as the Chief Minister. But the project was stopped due to vehement opposition by the Odisha government. However, the neighbouring state has built another barrage at Katragada, about one km from Neredi and the construction work is in the last phase. While the case is sub judice, the Andhra Pradesh government has spent Rs 1020 crore in the construction of the barrage and rehabilitated the displaced families by providing compensation to them.

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