Dhaka Wasa MD in controversy again

Staff Correspondent

10 December, 2019 12:00 AM printer

Dhaka Water Supply and Sewerage Authority Managing Director Taqsem A Khan has caused controversy again through providing false information.

This time, he provided a false piece of information on a sewerage line, connected to the Buriganga River, before the High Court on Monday.

He sought an unconditional apology before the court for giving the false information. But, the court did not respond to his appeal.

The Wasa in its report on June 18 mentioned that there is no sewerage line of the Wasa, linked to the Buriganga River.

But, the BIWTA report mentioned that waste is being dumped to the river through 68 points — 56 of them are Wasa sewerage lines, the report said.

Having two different reports, the HC on November 17 issued a show-cause notice to Taqsem, asking him why action will not be taken for disobeying a court order and providing false information.

Taqsem placed his reply before the court on December 2.

In his reply, it was mentioned that waste is being dumped to the Buriganga through 67 points. Of them, 16 are WASA sewerage lines.

The court expressed dismay over the two different reports by the WASA. Under the circumstances, the WASA withdrew its previous report and filed a new petition on Sunday.

In the petition, he sought an unconditional apology to the court for providing false pieces of information given on June 18.

The bench of Justice Gobinda Chandra Tagore and Justice Mohammad Ullah on Sunday made the observation during the hearing of a writ petition filed by Human Rights and Peace for Bangladesh (HRPB) on May 4, 2010, seeking immediate steps to prevent water pollution in the Buriganga.

The HC on Sunday came down heavily on the WASA for not complying with its 2011 directive over sealing all sewerage lines to Buriganga River and for making an untrue statement about sewerage lines connected to the river.

Dhaka Wasa is responsible for controlling all the underground drainage system in Dhaka city, but it wanted to avoid the responsibility by saying that Dhaka city corporations are supposed to control the drainage system, the HC said, adding that it will not accept any negligence in discharging duties.

WASA MD Taqsem A Khan sough an unconditional apology from the HC bench for making an untrue statement about sewerage lines connected to the Buriganga.

He submitted the apology petition to the HC bench through lawyer M Nahiyan-Ibn-Subhan, saying that there are 16 sewerage lines connected to the river, which cause pollution.

Advocate Nahiyan represented Wasa’s panel lawyer AM Masum before the HC, saying that his senior counsel Barrister AM Masum could not appear before the court due to his personal difficulties.

The court refused to hear arguments from Nahiyan in detail, saying that he has no authority to place arguments instead of the panel lawyer of Wasa.

Writ petitioner’s lawyer advocate Manzill Murshid told the court that the Wasa could have sealed the sources of waste connected to the Buriganga as a part of implanting its 2011 directives, but it did not do that.

He prayed to the HC bench for a contempt-of-court rule against the Wasa MD for not complying with the directive.

Earlier in the day, the Department of Environment (DoE) submitted a report to the HC through its lawyer advocate Amatul Karim, saying that it has shut 18 factories on the bank of the Buriganga in Dhaka as they are operating without environment clearance certificates.

Following the writ petition, the HC on June 1, 2011, had directed the government to seal all sewerage lines to the Buriganga within the next year.

The court had also directed the authorities concerned to stop dumping waste into the river and declared illegal their inaction in prevention of water pollution.

The authorities were directed to clean up the river and remove all sources of pollution from there.

On November 17 this year, the HC directed the DoE to shut the factories operating without environment clearance certificates on the Buriganga riverbank.

The court also asked the WASA managing director to explain in 15 days why a legal action should not be taken against him for making a false statement about sewerage lines connected to the river.