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HC blocks release of substandard bitumen from port

Apex court rejects importers’ writ seeking to bypass quality test

  • Staff Correspondent
  • 8 September, 2021 12:00 AM
  • Print news
HC blocks release of substandard bitumen from port

The High Court (HC) has halted the move of two Chattogram-based importers to unload imported bitumen, which failed to pass the quality test conducted by three government-specified institutions, by rejected their writ to release their consignments.

The importers Jahangir and Brothers and Hassan Construction filed a writ petition with the High Court seeking an order for releasing the substandard imported bitumen. But the apex court rejected the petition on Monday.

Sources said a ship carrying 262 containers of bitumen belonging to these two importers is now anchored at jetty number 9 of Chattogram port.

As part of the quality testing process, the importers first tested the bitumen at Eastern Refinery Limited, in which the consignment failed to pass the government-specified quality standards. After this, they went to the High Court for releasing the consignment bypassing the quality test.

Deputy Attorney General Samarendra Nath Biswas said: “The government has made it mandatory to carry out test quality test for imported bitumen. There is no scope of releasing the bitumen if it does not pass the quality test.” “The bitumen imported by Jahangir and Brothers and Hassan Construction failed to pass the government-specified quality test,” he added.

“Even after failing to pass the test at Eastern Refinery, Jahangir and Brothers filed a writ petition with the High Court. On Monday, the court rejected the writ,” he said further.

The importers become desperate to release the sub-standard bitumen imported from Iran, sources at the Customs department informed.

The importers resorted to malpractices including creating political pressure to release the low-quality imported bitumen.

Their move to file the writ petition surprised many officials at the Customs department and Eastern Refinery. Some officials of Eastern Refinery even raised allegations against the importers for their attempt to tarnish the reputation of the state-run body.

Eastern Refinery quality control department head Jahedul Islam said they conduct standard testing with fully automated machine. There is no option to manipulate the test results, he said.

On May 25, Commerce Ministry has ordered the mandatory quality test for all imported bitumen.