Don’t allow river encroachers to contest polls, avail of loan: HC to EC, BB   


Dhaka, Feb 03: The High Court on Sunday directed the Election Commission not to allow any individual to contest any election, including the parliamentary one, if he or she is accused of encroaching on rivers.The High Court bench of Justice Moyeenul Islam Chowdhury and Justice Md Ashraful Kamal also directed the authorities of the National River Protection Commission to submit a compliance report in this regard within six months.

The court also directed the Bangladesh Bank not to provide any loan to land grabbers.

While delivering the judgment on a writ petition, the court also asked the Education Ministry for taking steps to hold at least a one-hour-long class on river encroaching, pollution and preservation in all educational institutions after every two months for creating awareness among students on the issue.

The government has been asked to amend the National River Protection Commission Act, 2013 for making the Commission more effective and submit a report before it court within six months.

The High Court also ordered the Commission to take necessary measures to protect the natural beauty of the rivers flowing across the country.

In a landmark verdict, the High Court on Wednesday declared the Turag River as a legal/juristic person or a living being to save the river from illegal encroachment and asked the authorities concerned to remove all the structures from it in the next 30 days.

A World Bank study said four major rivers around Dhaka — the Buriganga, Shitalakhya, Turag and Balu — receive 1.5 million cubic metres of wastewater every day from 7,000 industrial units in surrounding areas and another 0.5 million cubic metres from other sources.

The Environment and Forest Ministry enacted a law in 1995 making it mandatory for all industrial units to use effluent treatment plants (ETPs) to save river waters from pollution, but owners often flout the rule.