Industries secretary summoned over realizing fines from tanners

DHAKA, Jan 25, 2017 (BSS) - The High Court (HC) today summoned industries secretary for failure in realizing fines from Hazaribagh tanners imposed by the Supreme Court.

"A High Court division bench comprising Justice Md Ashfaqul Islam and Justice Ashish Ranjan Das passed the order, asking the secretary to appeal before the court on February 7 and explain his position," said Supreme Court lawyer advocate Monjil Morshed.

Earlier on June 16, 2016, the High Court ordered 154 tanneries based in capital's Hazaribagh area to pay Taka 50,000 to state exchequer each per day for damaging the environment, until they relocate their factories to Savar.

The Supreme Court however, reduced the amount of fine to Taka 10,000 each on July 18, following an appeal filed by the tannery owners against that High Court order.

The High Court in its earlier order had also asked the industries secretary to monitor the compliance of the order and submit a report before the court on the damage done to ecosystem of river Buriganga daily by tannery industries. It also asked the Environment Secretary to submit a report on the damage being done to the environment.

In 2001, the High Court ordered the tannery owners to relocate their factories from Hazaribagh. The court in 2009, again ordered the relocation of the tanneries by February 24, 2010. Later, the timeframe was extended up to April 30, 2011. But as the latest order too was not complied with, Human Rights and Peace for Bangladesh (HRPB) filed a contempt of court case on April 15, 2014.

On April 13, 2016, the court sought a list of tanners who are still doing businesses in Hazaribagh, from the Industries Secretary. Following the order, the secretary submitted a list of 155 tanners, of which only one has relocated from the area till July, 2016.

Source: Bangladesh Sangbad Sangstha (BSS)