The High Court today observed that the managing director of Dhaka Water Supply and Sewerage Authority (Wasa) is voluntarily not implementing a 2011 directive asking it to seal off drains and sewerage lines linked to Buriganga River.
The court said the Wasa MD has been violating his commitment and is delaying in complying with the directives by submitting different affidavits and seeking time from the court.
Issuing a caution to Wasa MD Taqsem A Khan, the HC directed him to properly implement its directives and to submit a compliance report in a month.
The HC bench of Justice Gobinda Chandra Tagore and Justice Mohammad Ullah passed the order while hearing a writ petition filed by rights organisation Human Rights and Peace for Bangladesh (HRPB) in May 2010 seeking necessary directives to seal off drains and sewerage lines connected to Buriganga River to save it from pollution.
The bench fixed October 18 to pass further order on this issue.
HRPB's lawyer Manzill Murshid told The Daily Star that Wasa MD Taqsem A Khan had appeared before the HC bench on March 4 this year and apologised for not implementing the HC's 2011 directive.
The MD had submitted an undertaking to the HC saying that he will take steps to fully comply with the directives.
But the MD had submitted three confusing reports to the HC on August 18, September 7 and today through his lawyer Ummme Salma.
In the reports, he said the Wasa has sealed off four sewerage lines at Hazaribagh area but cannot seal off lines in Shyampur due to floods. But there is no flooding in Shyampur area, Manzill Murshid said.
Murshid, also the president of HRPB, said the Wasa MD in a report had said that his office could not implement the HC directives due to manpower crisis.
During today's hearing, Murshid told the HC that pollution of Buriganga water is not being stopped due to noncompliance of the HC's 2011 directives.
The Wasa has failed to discharge its duty in saving the Buriganga from pollution, he argued.
Earlier on December 2 last year, the HC bench ordered the Dhaka Wasa to properly implement its directives on sealing off drains and sewerage lines connected to the river and to submit the progress report.
On the same day, Dhaka Wasa submitted an undertaking to the HC that said it would seal off all its drains and sewerage lines connected to the Buriganga and would file a progress report every month.
He submitted a report before the HC on December 2, saying that there were 67 underground drains and sewerage lines connected to the Buriganga. But in an earlier report submitted on June 18 last year, he said no such lines were there.
Bangladesh Inland Water Transport Authority (BIWTA) had earlier submitted a compliance report to the HC bench stating that 68 underground drains and sewerage lines were linked to the Buriganga.
On December 2, the HC bench observed that the Dhaka Wasa was responsible for controlling the 68 underground drains and sewerage lines, and Dhaka city corporations were responsible for the surface pipelines.