HC bans factories within 10km of Sundarbans

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Pns: The High Court yesterday ordered the government not to approve any new factory or industrial unit within 10-kilometre (km) radius of the Sundarbans, the largest mangrove forest in the world. The court also sought from the government a detailed list of industries and factories set up within the 10km radius of the site that is considered as ecologically critical area. It has asked the government to submit the list within six months.



The HC bench of Justice Moinul Islam Chowdhury and Justice JBM Hassan also issued a rule asking the government to explain why the government approval to set up industries and factories within the 10km stretch of the Sundarbans should not be declared illegal.

It also asked the government to explain why it should not be directed to remove the industries and factories already being set up there. Secretaries of environment, industries, land, director general of the environment department, deputy commissioners (DCs) of Khulna, Bagerhat, Satkhira and Barguna, and superintendent of police (SP) of Khulna have been made respondents to the rule.

On April 4, Sheikh Faridul Islam, president of Save the Sundarbans Foundation, filed the writ petition with the HC seeking its directives on the authorities concerned to relocate the industries set up in 10km radius of the Sundarbans.

The petition mentioned that the environment and forest ministry issued a gazette notification on August 30 in 1999 declaring the 10km area surrounding the Sundarbans as ecologically critical. But, the Department of Environment has reportedly issued site clearance certificate for 150 industries in that area over the years, the petition noted.

Barrister Sheikh Jakir Hossain appeared for the petitioner while deputy attorney general Motahar Hossain Saju represented the state.

PNS/Tamanna Khan

 

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