Unplanned industrialization has made our environment, especially water, severely polluted. Many millers, including textile millers, built their factories without maintaining environmental rules and regulations that created environmental imbalance, also responsible for the unsustainable business.
Recently Bangladesh High Court in a landmark judgment announced river encroachers cannot run in any elections or get bank loans, the High Court has ordered, in an efforts to save rivers from greedy grabbers.
The High Court also instructed the government to make a list of every grabber in the country and publish the list in the media to expose them to the public.
The High Court made the judgment in reply to a petition by Human Rights and Peace for Bangladesh. In its petition, the organization quoted a report published in The Daily Star on November 6, 2016, headlined “Time to Declare Turag Dead”.
“The Turag is a living entity,” the court said and asked the authorities to remove all structures from it in 30 days.
Many of the rivers in Bangladesh are in critical condition. The exact data is not available, but environmentalists and journalists working on the issue say most of the around 450 rivers in the country face serious threats mainly due to rampant grabbing and indiscriminate polluting by the industries through toxic waste dumping.
Bangladesh is known for the river land, witnessing an all pronged attack be it illegal sand lifting, grabbing river for setting up a factory, illegal excavation, dumping chemical waste, etc.
According to a U.N. data, one child dies from the water-related disease every 15 seconds. The textile industry is the 3rd most polluting industry in the world after lather and paper. And Bangladesh is the second largest exporter of RMG in the world.
A lot of factories wastewater which is discharged from a textile manufacturing plant is not treated enough to remove all these hazardous substances from going to rivers.
The Meghna river is so polluted that foreign investment of US$ 500 million is being implemented to make it drinkable enough for the citizens of Dhaka.
The High Court also ordered the government to make a list of every grabber in the country and publish the list in the media to expose them to the public.
The court also asked the authorities to scrap the lease between the Gazipur district administration and Ha-Meem Group, which set up a washing plant on Turag land.
The judicial investigation also identified 36 individuals and organizations who grabbed Turag land, and submitted the list to the High Court. The grabbers are Annon Tex, Dr. Faras Uddin University, Cordod Land Developer and Captain Zakir Hossain, Protyasha Housing, Gazipur City Corporation, Truck-Covered van Drivers’ Union, Central Medical College, Md Jahangir Zipper Factory, Zarina Textile, Sajid Washing of Ha-Meem Group, Biswa Ijtema, Shilpa Shamparkita Shikshayan, Tongi New Market (Masjid Market), Anwar Group, The Merchant Limited and Packaging Factory, Textile owner Iman Ali, Ripon Commissioner, Zaber and Zubair factories of Noman Group, Paradise Washing, Autul Purification, Yunus Member, Fazlu Miah, Shah Alam and Gong, Moslem Sarkar, Riaz Uddin, Abdul Hai, Lutfa Begum, Dolly Begum, Mintu D’Costa and others.
After the verdict, the government now will have to revise the National River Protection Commission (NRPC) Act 2013 with provisions for punishment and fine for river grabbing.
The government must report to the court in six months on its action in this regard.