NGT Asks Odisha Govt To Revive A Dead River In Cuttack In 6 Months

Bhubaneswar: The National Green Tribunal (NGT) has directed the Odisha government to take steps for revival of a dead river in Cuttack district within six months by allocating dedicated funds for the work.

Seven persons had petitioned the NGT seeking revival of Sukapaika river, a branch of Mahanadi, which became dead after its mouth was closed restricting its free flow in the 1950s. They claimed that the river bed was converted into a dumping ground for garbage, reports said.

In an affidavit filed last year, Odisha’s Chief Engineer (Drainage) said Sukapaika river originates from Mahanadi and has its mouth at Ayatpur. It traverses 27.50 km and falls at Bankala into the same river. It covers three blocks – Cuttack Sadar, Raghunathpur and Nischintakoili of Cuttack. Its mouth was closed in 1950 for development of Taladanda Canal System and for flood protection in the delta of Sukapaika, it said.

The move to close the river mouth was apparently taken as it would not create any water crisis because the area had many water bodies having sufficient groundwater reserves.

People gradually started residing in nearby areas and encroached upon the river at several places, obstructing storage and free passage of water to its tail end.

Over two years ago, a public hearing was held at Kishannagar in January 2020 to reopen the river mouth and a project was approved by the State Technical Advisory Committee of Flood Control Board for Rs 44.04 crore in April 2021.

In another affidavit, it was stated that a sluice on Mahanadi right embankment,  cross drainage work over distributary of Taladanda Canal and four village road-bridge would be constructed and the entire drainage channel renovated for which land acquisition was recommended by the committee.

It was also stated that the state government had approved Rs 49.67 crore for rejuvenation of Sukapaika drainage channel which would be submitted to the government for budgetary provisions in 2022-23.

The technical committee noted said as the proposed sluice site at Ayatpur is situated at 9 km upstream of the gauge site, this will facilitate entry of Mahanadi flood water to Sukapaika drainage channel.

The eastern zone bench of NGT directed the state to make a budgetary allocation of Rs 49.67 crore for revival of Sukapaika within a month and complete the project for rejuvenation by March 13 next year.


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