The High Court yesterday directed the government to deploy police at the mango orchards in Rajshahi region to prevent spraying of toxic chemicals on mangoes.
The divisional commissioner of Rajshahi and the deputy inspector general of police (Rajshahi range) have been asked to deploy the police in seven days.
The HC also ordered the authorities concerned to monitor the storehouses of mangoes and other fruits in Dhaka with surveillance teams so that harmful chemicals could not be sprayed on fruits.
The inspector general of police, the director general of Rapid Action Battalion and the chairman of Bangladesh Standards and Testing Institution (BSTI) have been asked to submit a report to the court after complying with its directives in 30 days.
The HC bench of Justice FRM Nazmul Ahsan and Justice KM Kamrul Kader came up with the order following a supplementary writ petition filed by Human Rights and Peace for Bangladesh (HRPB).
During the hearing on the petition, HRPB lawyer Manzill Murshid told the court that following a writ petition, the HC on February 29, 2012, had issued several directives on the government to stop spraying of hazardous chemicals on fruits and to take action against those responsible for using chemicals.
But some dishonest people were reportedly spraying hazardous chemicals on fruits, particularly on mangoes, during the harvesting seasons, he said.
Manzill prayed to the HC to pass necessary orders to stop this practice.
On February 29, 2012, the HC in its verdict directed police to file criminal cases under the Special Powers Act, 1974, against those using chemicals to ripen or preserve fruits.
According to the act, the maximum punishment for the offence is death.
The court asked the National Board of Revenue (NBR) and the customs department to monitor land and sea ports through which fruits are imported. It said the NBR and the customs would test imported fruits at ports to find out whether those were free from chemicals.
If they find any contaminated fruit, they must not allow them to enter the country, said the court.
Mentioning that the use of chemicals to ripen and preserve fruits is illegal, the HC ordered the BSTI and the law enforcers to constantly monitor fruit depots across the country to prevent storage and sale of contaminated fruits.