Stop filling Moidara canal at Sundarbans

Dhaka, Aug 12 (

The High Court on Sunday asked the government to explain in two weeks why filling up of Moidara canal and its other branches near the Sundarbans should not be declared illegal.

The bench of justices Hasan Foyez Siddiqui and A B M Altaf Hossain issued the ruling after hearing a writ petition seeking an end to the filing up of the canal to set up a power station at Rampal upazila in Bagerhat near the Sundarbans.

The Forest and Environment Secretary, Power Secretary, Land Secretary, Director General of the Department of Environment, PDB Chairman, Bagerhat Deputy Commissioner, Project Directors of coal-based power plants in Chittagong-Khulna region, Bagerhat Superintendent of Police, Rampal Upazila Nirbahi Officer and Rampal Police Station OC will have to answer the court.

Mojahedul Islam, General Secretary of an environmental organisation, Save the Sundarbans, and Supreme Court lawyer Advocate Tahsin Ali had filed the petition on Aug 8.

Advocate Manzill Murshid and Barrister Sheikh Mohammad Zakir Hossain argued for the petitioners at Sunday’s hearing.

“We have moved the court as Moidara canal is being filled up in the Sundarbans to set up a power station at Rampal violating the law,” Zakir Hossain told on Sunday.

The High Court had issued a rule on the government on Mar 22 asking why construction of a proposed 1320-megawatt coal-run thermal power project at Rampal should not be stopped for its adverse environmental implications.

The bench of justices Farid Ahmed and Sheikh Hassan Arif had issued the order following a writ petition filed by the Save the Sundarbans Foundation Organising Secretary Sheikh Siddique Ahmed.

The petition had said the world’s largest mangrove forest and its biodiversity will be damaged if the coal-based plant is set up at Rampal.