SC upholds order to shut down Hazaribagh tanneries

SC upholds order to shut down Hazaribagh tanneries

A total of 154 tanneries were fined Tk50,000 daily in June last year for not relocating to Savar but the top court had revised the amount to Tk10,000 in JulyMahmud Hossain Opu

The tanneries have been causing immense damage to the environment in the area

The Supreme Court has upheld a High Court order that asked the government to shut down all 154 tanneries in Hazaribagh, Dhaka and cut off their utility connections immediately.

A three-member Appellate Division bench led by Chief Justice Surendra Kumar Sinha passed the order on Sunday rejecting a petition filed by Bangladesh Finished Leather, Leather Goods and Footwear Exporters Association for a stay on the HC order.

Bangladesh Environmental Lawyers’ Association (BELA) chief executive Syeda Rizwana Hasan, who earlier filed the petition with the High Court which led to the order, confirmed the news to the Dhaka Tribune.

On March 6, a High Court bench of Justice Syed Refaat Ahmed and Justice Md Salim issued the order after hearing BELA’s petition.

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 the 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 Tk 50,000 per day in June last year for not following the court directive, but the High Court revised the amount to Tk10,000 in July.

Earlier, the High Court in October 2010 set a six-month deadline for the tanneries in Hazaribagh to relocate to Savar, because of the immense damage they cause to the environment in the area.

Going by that order, the tanneries should have moved from Hazaribagh by April 30, 2011. The government has however extended the deadline several times.

The latest extension came in December last year, when the Ministry of Industries issued a notice to the tannery owners to move out of Hazaribagh by March 31 this year.

Source: Dhaka Tribune

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