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HC: Shut down Hazaribagh tanneries immediately

  • Published at 03:02 pm March 6th, 2017
  • Last updated at 08:54 pm March 6th, 2017
HC: Shut down Hazaribagh tanneries immediately
The bench of Justice Syed Refaat Ahmed and Justice Md Salim issued the order on Monday afternoon after hearing a petition filed by Bangladesh Environmental Lawyers' Association (BELA). The court also instructed the home and industries secretaries, the inspector general of police and the commissioner of Dhaka Metropolitan Police (DMP) to assist the Department of Environment to comply with the order. The director general of Department of Environment has been instructed to submit a report on the compliance of the order before the court by April 6. The court sought another report from the Ministry of Industries on whether the authorities concerned have been helping the ministry in barring the supply of rawhides to the Hazaribagh tanneries, in accordance with a previous directive. The court scheduled the next hearing on this issue on April 10. Earlier on March 2, another High Court bench ordered the Hazaribagh tanneries to pay an overdue fine of Tk30.85 crore within two weeks “or face serious consequences.” These tanneries were fined Tk50,000 per day in June last year for not following the court directive, but the High Court revised the amount to Tk10,000 in July.
Also Read - High Court orders 154 tanneries to pay Tk30.85cr overdue fines
Speaking to reporters on Monday, BELA CEO Syeda Rizwana Hassan said the High Court set a six-month deadline for the tannery owners in Hazaribagh in October 2010 to relocate their business to Savar, as the tanneries have been causing immense damage to the environment in the area. According to that order, the tanneries should have been moved from Hazaribagh by April 30, 2011. But the government extended the deadline several times. The latest extension came in December last year, when the Ministry of Industries issued a notice for the tannery owners saying they cannot operate in Hazaribagh after March 31 this year. The government did not take the court's permission when it granted the extensions. That is why BELA filed a petition with the High Court on January 3 stating that the government cannot allow such extensions without the court's permission. The court then asked the industries secretary to appear before it with an explanation.
Also Read - Is Savar becoming the next Hazaribagh?
Rois Uddin Ahmed, counsel for the Ministry of Industries, told reporters that the ministry had informed the court about the relocation of 43 tanneries to Savar so far. In a report on February 13, the industries secretary said the tanneries had not been relocated to their designated sites while another tannery had been shut down.