SC’s no to Hallmark industrial park

The Supreme Court yesterday upheld a High Court order that had directed Hallmark Group not to set up an industrial park in Savar for the next four months.
Chamber judge of the Appellate Division of the SC passed the order after hearing a petition filed by the firm seeking stay on the HC’s July 30 order.
Justice Md Shamsul Huda in his order said his court would not interfere in the HC order as it had directed Hallmark Group not to fill the area (Savar) with earth for four months.
The judge, however, permitted the company to file an appeal with the SC against the HC order within six weeks.
Following a writ petition filed by Paribesh Bachao Andolan (Poba), the HC on July 30 directed the Department of Environment (DoE) not to issue any environment and site clearance certificates to the firm for establishing an industrial park in Savar for the next four months.
The HC also ordered the company to stop for the same period any kind of earth filling in Kandibaliarpur, Nandankhali, Jamur, Muchipara and Vorari moujas of Savar upazila.
Hallmark authorities on August 13 filed a leave to appeal petition (prayer for permission to move an appeal) with the SC challenging the HC order and also sought a stay order on it (HC order), Iqbal Kabir Lytton, a counsel for the writ petitioner, told The Daily Star.
During the hearing on the petition yesterday, Hallmark’s counsel Yusuf Hossain Humayun told the court that several mills and garment factories in Savar and their workers have been suffering due to the HC order, added Lytton.
If the HC order remains in force, argued Humayun, export from these factories will be affected.
Opposing the leave to appeal petition, writ petitioner’s counsel Fida M Kamal said the company has set up factories in the area flouting the environment protection laws and polluting the environment.
If the HC order is halted, it would lead to even greater violation of the law and more pollution of the environment, mentioned Kamal.
Hallmark Group had started setting up the industrial park on 100-bigha land in the moujas, which has been identified as agricultural and rural residential area in the master plan of Rajdhani Unnayan Kartripakkha (Rajuk).
Poba had filed the writ petition challenging the legality of the company’s move to establish the industrial park in the area.
The green organisation complained that Hallmark ventured into the project violating the environment protection law and without obtaining approval from the authorities concerned.
The HC in its order on July 30 also stayed for four months the environment ministry’s decision to waive Tk 36 lakh from a penalty of Tk 40 lakh slapped on the company by the DoE.
The court also issued a rule upon the authorities concerned to explain why the company’s initiative to set up the industrial park should not be declared illegal and why the environment secretary’s decision to slash the fine should not be declared illegal.
The firm was fined for taking up the project in the area stretching from the wetland of the Dhaleswari river to the south of Singair Bridge without obtaining the mandatory environmental clearance certificate.
Iqbal Kabir Lytton said all the HC directives and its rule will remain in force following yesterday’s order passed by the SC.

Courtesy of The Daily Star

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