Power plant fined Tk 20 lakh for polluting Halda River


Staff Correspondent

The Department of Environment (DoE) suspend production of 100MW Picking power plant in Hathazari upazila and fined it Tk 20 lakh on charge of polluting Halda River by dumping wastes. 

Moazzem Hossain, director of the department in Chattogram, passed the order on Wednesday, an official said. 

Safiuddin Ahmed, Manager of Hathazari Power Plant, and its Executive Engineer Sayed Md Erfanul Kibria were present in the department when the fine was announced.

The authorities also ordered the temporary shutdown of the plant after a hearing over the harmful effects of the release of its furnace oil into a water body connected to the river on fishes within it.

Official said after visiting the power plant they found evidence of environment pollution by running the plant without setting up Liquid Effluent Treatment Plant and dumping waste into the river.

The power plant was fined Tk 20 lakh asked to stop production until completion of ETP.

Legal steps will be taken against it fails to comply with the order.

"Hathazari Power Plant was fined for polluting the river. Effluent Treatment Plants or ETP for the factory was not constructed as well. A temporary shutdown has also been ordered as ETP and oil separator system were not yet in place. "

DoE Director Azadur Rahman Mallik had summoned the plant authorities to appear before the department after finding evidence for the pollution of the country's biggest natural fish breeding ground on Jul 9.

"The power plant had stopped dumping its furnace oil into a water body after being informed. The channel, which was used to dump the oil into the wetland, had been filled immediately, said UNO Ruhul Amin. 

The authorities secretly dumped its furnace oil with water after heavy rains, said zoology teacher at Chattogram University Manzurul Kibria, who leads Chattogram University Halda River Research Laboratory.

"The oil was not dumped willingly," manager and engineer Safiuddin Ahmed had claimed responding to the allegation at that time, citing flash floods triggered by monsoon rains.  

After being inaugurated by Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina in 2012, at least two official notices have been issued against the power plant over pollution, but no progress has been made to resolve the problem.