The High Court today observed that any notified forest area, no matter whether it is declared reserved forest or not, cannot be allocated or leased for any purpose that damages the country’s forest.
With this observation, the court declared illegal a lease agreement under which the deputy commissioner of Chattogram issued the lease of 7.1 acre notified forest area at Uttar Salimpur in Shitakunda to BBC Steel on March 21 last year.
The HC bench of Justice Moyeenul Islam Chowdhury and Justice Khandakar Diliruzzaman came up with the verdict following a writ petition filed by Bangladesh Environmental Lawyers Association (Bela).
After getting the lease, the company cut some trees there and built road in order to establish a ship-breaking yard.
On April 28 last year, Bela filed a writ petition with the HC challenging the legality of the lease agreement.
On May 13 last year, the HC issued a rule asking the authorities concerned of the government and BBC Steel to explain why the lease agreement should not be declared illegal.
The court also directed the authorities to stop the activities for making the ship breaking yard at the area.
After holding hearing on the rule, the court today delivered the verdict.
Advocate Syeda Rizwana Hasan, Minhajul Haque Chowdhury and Advocate Sayeed Ahmed Kabir appeared for the writ petitioner while Barrister Mehedi Hasan Chowdhury represented BBC Steel.