The court asks authorities to explain why they failed to protect the river
The High Court on Sunday ordered the authorities to stop illegal and unauthorized filling of the Kohelia River for the next three months where a road is being built under the Matarbari Coal-fired Power Plant Project in Cox’s Bazar.
The bench of Justice Md Mojibur Rahman and Justice Md Kamrul Hossain gave the order after a hearing on the public interest litigation filed by Bangladesh Environmental Lawyers Association (BELA).
The court asked the authorities to explain why they failed to protect Kohelia River and why the Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA) and the Environmental Clearance granted in favour of the project should not be revoked.
The court also asked the National River Conservation Commission and the Department of Environment to assess the damage caused by river filling and submit a report to the court on the current status of the EIA of the project.
Advocate Syeda Rizwana Hasan argued in the hearing on behalf of BELA.
According to the notice of the Department of Environment on January 25, 2021, the Kohelia River was filled in Moheskhali-Matarbari area for building a 6.5km long link road from Rajghat Bridge to Mohiraghona.
According to news published on several national dailies, the Department of Roads and Highways plans to build a four-lane road by filling 7.4km of Kohelia River to make way for the under-construction coal power plant at Matarbari.
The western part of the river was filled with soils extracted from the eastern part of the river.
The naval communication was also disrupted due to shoals created by filling about two kilometres of the river.