Odisha Channel Bureau Sambalpur, Sep 1: Water Initiatives Odisha has expressed serious concern over inaction of the Naveen Patnaik Government to formulate a new law to protect and preserve the water bodies in the State.“On October 11, 2012, Orissa High Court had asked the State Government to formulate a strong law to protect and preserve water bodies in the state within two years.The deadline is about to be over and we don’t see any sign of such a law being formulated in the state.This is a serious concern and must be addressed immediately if the State Government respects the High Court judgment,” said Ranjan Panda, Convenor of WIO, a leading water rights body in the State.“Giving judgment on a case pertaining to the plight of water bodies such as ponds and tanks in Cuttack city, the High Court had asked the government to formulate this law.We had then written to the State Government to take this ruling seriously and act on this with utmost seriousness. However, we don’t understand why the government is yet to formulate this,” asks Panda.“We urge upon the State Government to immediately comply with the HC order and come out with a stringent law to protect all water bodies of the state without waiting for the two year’s deadline to be over, which would then mean defying the court’s ruling.The government should wake up fast,” said Panda.Surface water bodies play a major role in retaining rain water and recharging the local ecology.They are also a major livelihood support system for many poor farmers and communities depending on fishery.They also have a major role to play in flood water management during monsoons.“WIO therefore urges upon the government to immediately declare a plan of action to free all water bodies of state from all forms of encroachment. Most importantly, let this plan be made with involvement of all sections of the society and all information be made available to public in a transparent manner,” said Panda.
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