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Govt seeks more time to relocate tanneries
Jul '11
Bangladesh Government has urged the High Court to grant another two year's extension for setting up a central Effluent Treatment Plant (ETP) in Savar and to relocate the polluting tanneries away from the Hazaribagh area of Dhaka.

The time limit set for establishment of the central ETP and relocation of the tanneries expired on April 30, 2011. However, prior to the expiry of this time limit, a petition seeking further two year's extension for completing the task was already filed by the Industries Ministry before the High Court.

The Court has, however, not yet finalized any date for hearing on this petition. In the past, the Government had two times requested the Court to grant two years extension for shifting the tanneries, but the Court extended the time limit by six months.

With a view to curb extensive environmental pollution, the High Court had directed the Government in 2009 to either move all the tanneries from the capital city to Savar's special industrial zone or close them by February 28, 2010. The Court voiced its discontent regarding industrial pollution, and criticized the Government for not having initiated any steps to check the same.

The Court ruling came in response to writ petitions filed by Human Rights and Peace for Bangladesh (HRPB) and Bangladesh Environment Lawyers' Association (Bela).

Subsequently, on February 28, 2010 the High Court granted an extension of six months on the basis of a petition filed by the Government and the Tannery Owners' Association requesting a two year's extension for completing the task of relocating the tanneries.

Meanwhile, the hazardous waste from the tanneries keeps on polluting Buriganga and endangering human health. The inhabitants of the city complaint that owing to uncontrolled pollution, they often fall prey to fever, skin diseases, cough, diabetes and asthma.

Following a High Court order, the process of shifting tanneries of the city commenced in 2001. Then around five years back, the Government embarked on a project involving a cost of around five billion Tk for establishing a leather estate in Savar's Harinbari region. However, the estate has not yet been utilised and is lying vacant.

Fibre2fashion News Desk - India

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