January 24, 2006 The land was being sold by truck by cutting the hill near Uttar Pahartali Shapla Housing under the then Khulshi police station of the city. Upon receiving the news, the officials of the Divisional Office of the Environment Department carried out the operation in collaboration with the Khulshi Police. During the operation, two persons were arrested in Hatena and two trucks filled with soil were also seized. The next day (January 25), Assistant Biochemist Muhammad Abdullah Al Mamun of the Environment Department filed a case against six people at Khulshi Police Station. The case was filed under sections 4 (2) and 12 of the Bangladesh Environmental Protection Act 1995 (amended / 2002). Environmental Case No. 05/2008. The Department of Environment has been investigating the case since then, but has not yet submitted a report to the court. In about 14 years, half a dozen investigating officers have changed. The plaintiff in this case is currently promoted to the post of Deputy Director of Narayanganj District Office. However, the current investigation officer said that the investigation of the case has almost been completed.
Similarly, on July 6 of that year, in another operation, the Department of Environment found evidence of cutting tinshed houses in the Shapla housing area. Later Abdul Bari Majumdar and Md. A case was filed against two persons named Nuruchhafa at Khulshi police station on July 30, said a junior chemist of the environment department. Saiful Islam. The time of the incident in the case is shown from 198 to 2005. Environmental Case No. 41/2008. The case has been under investigation by the Department of Environment since then. Apart from these two cases, three more cases from 2009 are still under investigation.
A case is currently being investigated by Inspector Abul Mansur Mollah of the Chittagong Metropolitan Office of the Department of Environment. Most recently, he was promoted to assistant director. “I have reported 10 cases in the last one and a half years,” he said. One of the accused in the case had to give a final report as he died. Chargesheets in two more cases will be presented in court in the next few days. Which were introduced in 2006.
Asked about the slow pace of investigation in the case, an official of the environment department told Dainik Azadi on condition of anonymity: But there is a lack of skilled legal manpower. As a result, although the investigating officer has been changed repeatedly, no progress has been made in the investigation of the cases. The issues have been reported to the ministry more than once.
Advocate Saeed Ahmed Kabir, legal co-ordinator of the Bangladesh Environmental Lawyers Association (BELA), told Daily Azadi, “The more the environmental case is delayed, the less important it becomes. Being late one day means increasing the damage to the environment one day. As soon as the case is settled, the real facts will be known and justice will be established. It will also be possible to ensure the punishment of the real culprits. The slower the judicial process, the more ineffective it will be.
He said Chittagong is a district rich in natural resources. Chittagong district and the metropolis are rich in natural resources. Environmental lawsuits mean the loss of one of these natural resources. For this reason, the Department of Environment should take more effective steps. Day work should be done during the day. If there is a shortage of manpower for this reason, the officers in charge should inform the higher authorities to solve the problem. If the environment is disrupted, both public interest and public health will be harmed.
Director of the Department of Environment, Chittagong Metropolitan Office. Nurullah Noori told Daily Azadi, “When I took charge in 2019, 29 cases were under investigation at the Chittagong Metropolitan Office. The cases have been filed from 2008 to 2019. Among them, we have reported 12 cases in the last one year. 10 of them have been charged. There have been two new cases in 2020. All in all, we have taken steps to complete the investigation of all the old cases. He said, ‘In addition to the regular activities of the Department of Environment, the investigation of the case is also being done. Our inspectors are working day and night. Many times the inspectors are working in the office even on holidays.
Additional Director General of the Department of Environment has acknowledged the lack of skilled manpower. Humayun Kabir. He said at an exchange meeting held at Chittagong Paribesh Bhaban on December 26, ‘Initiatives have been taken to settle the old cases. Besides, steps have also been taken to train the officers posted in Chittagong on the investigation activities of the case. A bar panel of experienced lawyers has been formed. They will come to Chittagong to train the officials on the details of the law and the process of filing charges in court. I hope that the investigation will be completed in the future.
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