River clean-up continues as court rejects petition

February 24, 2010

The High Court Tuesday rejected a petition filed by Fazlur Rahman, the Managing Director of City Group of Industries, challenging a government order to remove illegal structures from the bank of the river Shitalakhya. The structures include three jetties on the river bank.
Rahman argued that his company had set up the jetties in Rupganj area with permission from the Bangladesh Inland Water Transport Authority. City Group was ordered by the Narayanganj District Court on February 9 to remove all structures on the banks and to end earth filling in accordance with an January 24 High Court ruling.
The government has launched a major drive to clean up Dhaka’s waterways, which are among the world’s most polluted. The effort includes cracking down on polluters and removing structures built along the banks of the city’s four rivers: the Buriganga, Balu, Shitalakhya and Turag. But many residents and companies are resisting the drive by filing petitions, or by simply ignoring official orders.
Tuesday’s ruling by High Court Justices AHM Shamsuddin Chowdhury and Borhan Uddin ordered City Group to remove the structures in compliance with earlier verdicts.
More than 8,000 illegal structures are on the banks of the four rivers, according to a quarterly report submitted to the High Court. A December 2009 report filed to the Supreme Court by the Deputy Commissioners of Dhaka, Gazipur, Munshiganj and Narayanganj said that companies have continued illegal earth filling and construction on the river banks
The forests and environment secretary has been directed to declare the rivers Buriganga, Shitalakhya, Turag and Balu ecologically critical areas, saying the rivers have become biologically dead and measures must be taken to save Dhaka’s 12 million residents.
A High Court bench comprising Justice Syed Mahmud Hossain and Justice Quamrul Islam Siddiqui passed the January 24 order upon a petition filed by Human Rights and Peace for Bangladesh (HRPB).
Former attorney general Fida M Kamal appeared for the City Group of Industries while attorney general Mahbubey Alam represented the state.
Courtesy of The Independent

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