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Biodiversity & Environment

NGT Panel for Protection of Mahanadi Floodplain

  • 21 Dec 2020
  • 4 min read

Why in News

Recently, the National Green Tribunal (NGT) has constituted a high level committee to identify floodplain zones of the Mahanadi.

  • Mahanadi is Odisha’s largest river.

Key Points

  • Background:
    • In January 2020 Chief Minister of Odisha had announced that the 424 acres reclaimed from the river Mahanadi would be utilised to add ecological, recreational, sporting, cultural and technological value in the lives of the people of Cuttack.
    • A local citizen approached the NGT against the state government's plan alleging that illegal construction activities will adversely affect the river ecology and disturb the flow of Mahanadi river.
  • NGT’s Order:
    • The NGT has formed a panel of experts from the Central Water Commission, National Institute of Hydrology and state and central pollution control board for laying down norms to ensure that the riverfront development takes place without damage to the floodplains of the river.
  • Legislation to Regulate the Flood Plains:
    • There is no central legislation to regulate the flood plains, except a 2016 notification issued by the Ministry of Water Resources, River Development, and Ganga Rejuvenation, with respect to Ganga river, under the Environment (Protection) Act, 1986, prohibiting any construction in the active floodplain area of river Ganga or its tributaries.
    • However some states have laws to regulate the flood plains :
      • Manipur Flood Zoning Act, 1978
      • Uttarakhand Flood Plain Zoning Act, 2012


  • Floodplain is an area of low-lying ground adjacent to a river, formed mainly by flooding of rivers and deposition of sand sediments on the riverbanks.
  • These sandy floodplains are exceptional aquifers where any withdrawal is compensated by gravity flow from a large surrounding area.
  • Some floodplains such as those of Himalayan Rivers contain up to 20 times more water than the virgin flow in rivers in a year.
  • Since recharge is by rainfall and during late floods, the water quality is good.

Mahanadi River

  • The Mahanadi River system is the third largest of peninsular India after Godavari and Krishna, and the largest river of Odisha state.
  • Source of origin of the Mahanadi river: It rises from a place near Sihawa in Bastar hills in the state of Chhattisgarh to the south of Amarkantak.
  • Major Tributaries of the Mahanadi river
    • Seonath River
    • Hasdeo River
    • Mand River
    • Ib River
    • Jonking River
    • Tel River
  • The Basin of the Mahanadi river:
    • The catchment area of the river extends to Chhattisgarh, Madhya Pradesh, Odisha, Jharkhand and Maharashtra.
    • Its basin is bounded by the Central India hills on the north, by the Eastern Ghats on the south and east and by the Maikala range on the west.
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