Tannery owners get Tk 308m waiver from penalty for relocation failure

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Dhaka, April 9: The Supreme Court (SC) on Sunday waived off Tk 308.3 million in penalties and asked 142 tannery owners to pay the one-time fine of Tk 50,000 each.

The payment has to be made to the labour ministry within 15 days.

The Appellate Division bench led by the chief justice SK Sinha gave the order after hearing a review petition by the tannery owners.

The court instructed the ministry to spend the money for rehabilitating the workers of the factories, which will shift to the leather zone at Savar on the outskirts of the capital.

In June last year, the High Court ordered the tanneries to pay Tk 50,000 each to the national exchequer a day as compensation for polluting the environment until they shift to Savar.

The factory owners moved the Appellate Division against the order. The amount was then revised to Tk 10,000. The court then instructed the industries secretary to implement the order.

Factories owners then filed a petition for a review of the order, which was disposed off on Sunday.

On Saturday, the department of environment has snapped power, gas and water connection for the factories at Hazaribagh, who are yet to relocate.

The top court ordered authorities on Sunday to ensure utility connections to factories in Savar leather industry zone within 15 days of filing applications.

It also instructed authorities to ensure installations of facilities like Central Effluent Treatment Plant (CETP) for treating the industrial waste water for its reuse or safe disposal.

“It needs to be ensured that the Dhaleswari River (in Savar) does not get polluted in the process to save the Buriganga River,” Chief Justice Surendra Kumar Sinha said.