National, Front Page

Bangshi in jeopardy

Contempt rule issued against DoE DG, 3 other officials

Published : 21 Nov 2021 10:23 PM

The High Court has issued a contempt of court rule against Director General of the Department of Environment (DoE), Deputy Commissioner (DC) of Dhaka, Assistant Commissioner (AC-land) of Savar and Officer-in-Charge (OC) of Savar Police Station. 

The government officials faced the contempt of court rule for not complying with a High Court order and for not submitting reports as well on pollution and illegal encroachment of Banshi River in Savar, on the outskirts of the capital.

The HC bench of Justice M Enayetur Rahim and Justice Md Mostafizur Rahman issued the rule on Sunday. 

In the rule, the higher court wanted to know why action won’t be taken against the DoE DG and others over the river pollution and encroachment issue. 

Barrister Md Bakir Hossain appeared before the court for the writ petition, which was filed on the issue.  

According to the lawyer, a news item on water pollution and encroachment of Bangshi River was published in a national daily on October 28 in 2019. The report says that 65 individuals and organisations are involved in encroachment of the river in Savar. They occupied a large area of the river, but there is no initiative to rescue it. 

After publication of the news item, Barrister Bakir Hossain filed the writ petition with the High Court, seeking its directives in this regard. On December 2 in 2019, the High Court issued an order with a rule, calling an end to the pollution of the Bangshi River and asking the authorities concerned to file reports on pollution and encroachment within 30 days. The court directed the Bangladesh Water Development Board (BWDB), Director General of DoE, Deputy Commissioner (DC) of Dhaka, Upazila Nirbahi Officer (UNO) of Savar, AC Land of Savar, Superintendent of Police (SP) of Dhaka and OC of Savar Police Station to submit the reports.

Barrister Bakir Hossain brought the matter to the notice of the High Court on Sunday as the above mentioned officials did not file the reports in two years.

The Bangshi River originated from Jamalpur and it flows through Tangail and meets the Tongi in Gazipur. It passes near National Memorial in Savar and falls into the Dhaleshwari River.

The river was once a mighty one. It was famous for fish, but there are no fishes in the river now. The water of the river is now being polluted by the industrial waste released by factories nearby, including Dhaka Export Processing Zone (DEPZ).

Local people said that the DEPZ and other factories, particularly the textile washing factories in Ashulia, discharged contaminated liquid waste into a waterbody behind the DEPZ. The contaminated water then mixes with the Bangshi River through a canal. Although the factories have Central Effluent Treatment Plant (CETP), authorities of the factories in the area don’t properly treat the waste before discharging it in the waterbody.