NGT Pulls Up Ganjam Collector In Odisha Over Construction At Tampara Lake

Bhubaneswar: The National Green Tribunal (NGT) has pulled up the Ganjam district collector for failure to file the inspection committee’s report on allegations about permanent constructions undertaken in violation of environmental norms in Tampara Lake near Chatrapur town.

The Tribunal also warned that it would initiate proceedings against the collector if he fails again to file the inspection committee’s report. NGT’s East Zone Bench in Kolkata was hearing Wildlife Society of Orissa (WSO)’s petition seeking intervention against the construction activities taking place in the name of tourism in the lake area.

The bench of Justice B Amit Sthalekar (judicial member) and Justice Arun Kumar Verma (expert member) said, “The district collector, Ganjam, was required to file report of the inspection committee on affidavit but the same has not been filed till date. We grant the district collector, Ganjam further ten days’ time for filing the affidavit bringing on record the report of the inspection committee, otherwise appropriate proceedings shall be initiated by this Tribunal as per the provisions of section 26 of the National Green Tribunal Act, 2010”.

WSO counsel Sankar Prasad Pani filed an additional affidavit supported by photographs on construction being made in the water body, TNIE reported.

The Bench took serious note of it and asked as to how has such construction been permitted by the state authorities by allowing encroachment into the water body and what steps have been taken by the district collector of Ganjam, to remove the same.

The Tribunal fixed September 26 for further consideration of the matter along with the Inspection report.

Earlier on August 11, while constituting the inspection committee to visit the site in question and submit its report on affidavit within four weeks the Bench in an interim order said, “In the meantime, the district collector, Ganjam, shall ensure that no illegal constructions are made and no part of the Tampara lake is encroached or allowed to be encroached”.

The Ganjam collector was made the nodal officer for all logistic purposes and for filing the committee report on affidavit.

The petition stated that the permanent construction within water area and 50 metre of the lake include restaurant, hotel, resorts and cottages along with other permanent structures constructed by OTDC.

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