Cuttack, Dec. 27: Orissa High Court has allowed time till January 18 for submission of the report on possible impact of construction for water intake at Mahanadi river in Cuttack for the central PSU Indian Oil Corporation Limited’s (IOCL) Paradip refinery project.
The high court revised the deadline as the technical committee constituted for the purpose sought more time to submit the report.
Construction of the intake well, the most important facility for water supply to the Crude Oil Refinery and Petrochemical Complex in Paradip, has been stalled since the court imposed restrictions on July 29. The high court has refused to modify its order, imposing restrictions on the construction work till it received a report from the committee. On November 27, the court constituted a five-member technical committee with S.M. Patnaik (a retired chief engineer of irrigation department) as chairman. It directed the committee to submit a report on December 19.
The high court is adjudicating on a PIL seeking judicial intervention against the construction work on the ground that it would pose a threat to the city when the river is in flood. Secretary of Nationalist Lawyers’ Forum (NLF) Nishikanta Mishra had filed the PIL.
The committee was asked to study the possible impact of the construction on the flow of water when the Mahanadi river was in flood, on the irrigation needs of canals through which water is provided to farm lands from the Jobra barrage downstream, the groundwater level and the ring road embankment along the northern side of city.
Others in the panel include three other retired chief engineers of the irrigation department — Sudhakar Patri, Raghunath Prasad Das and Sridhar Behera — along with chief engineer of the lower Mahanadi basin Baidhar Panda.
“When the case came up for hearing last week, the state counsel sought more time on behalf of the technical committee to submit the report. Taking note of it, the two-judge bench of Justice B.P. Das and Justice M.M. Das allowed time till January 18,” NLF’s counsel Ghasiram Verma told The Telegraph.
IOCL had filed a petition on September 12, seeking modification of the stay order as it was adversely affecting the tight schedule of the refinery project, which is scheduled to be commissioned in March 2012.
The intake system was required to be complete and commissioned by end of September for trial running.