Cuttack: In a significant development, the State High Court on Monday allowed Indian Oil Corporation Limited (IOCL) to draw water from Mahanadi River for its proposed oil refinery at Paradip.

The division bench headed by Chief Justice V Gopala Gowda in a verdict delivered on Monday however said that no supply of water will be made in the lean period of three months during summer. The IOCL has to construct its own reservoir to meet its requirement during this period. IOCL will be allowed to draw water from Mahanadi only after the completion of its own reservoir.

The HC further ordered that IOCL has to pay rupees 10 crore for the development of Cuttack based Sishu Bhaban. Apart from this the IOCL officials have to give rupees 3 crore for the development of commissionerate traffic system in Cuttack and 5 ambulances for the construction of a treatment plant in the city, as apart of its social responsibility.

IOCL also has to remove the old barrage within two months. The company will dredge the river from Naraj to Jobra at its own cost and the survey work will be undertaken by Indian Institute of Technology-Chennai.

A committee comprising Suresh Mohapatra, Secretary (Water Resources), Cuttack Collector and Revenue Divisional Commissioner (Central Division) will monitor the activities, as stated by the HC.

The court had in July last year issued a stay on the construction following an PIL filed by the Nationalist Lawyers Forum alleging that it would threaten drinking water and irrigation supply and also the embankments along Cuttack city. Even as the IOCL subsequently filed a petition for revoking the stay order, the Court had constituted a five-member experts committee headed by retired chief engineer SM Patnaik to assess the impact of such construction on the City and the people. The committee has ruled out any danger to the embankments or impact on drinking water and irrigation supply.