Saturday, August 24, 2019

Hathazari power plant fined Tk 2 million for polluting Halda River

  • Chattogram Bureau, bdnews24.com
    Published: 2019-07-17 15:54:56 BdST

The Department of Environment has imposed a fine of Tk 2 million on the Hathazari 100MW Peaking Power Plant for polluting the Halda River by dumping industrial waste.

The authorities also ordered the temporary shutdown of the plant after a hearing over the harmful effects of the release of its furnace oil into a water body connected to the river on fishes within it.

Moazzem Hossain, director of the department in Chattogram, passed the order on Wednesday.

Safiuddin Ahmed, Manager of Hathazari Power Plant, and its Executive Engineer Sayed Md Erfanul Kibria were present in the department when the fine was announced. 

But the two declined to speak to the media on the matter.

The evidence found a few days ago proved that the Halda is being contaminated by the industrial wastes released by the plant, Muktadir Hassan, Assistant Director of Chattogram DoE, told benews24.com.

"Hathazari Power Plant was fined for polluting the river. Effluent Treatment Plants or ETP for the factory was not constructed as well. A temporary shutdown has also been ordered as ETP and oil separator system were not yet in place. "

DoE Director Azadur Rahman Mallik had summoned the plant authorities to appear before the department after finding evidence for the pollution of the country's biggest natural fish breeding ground on Jul 9.

Upazila Nirbahi Officer or UNO Md Ruhul Amin had visited at Mora Chhara wetland in the 11 mile area in Hathazari after being told about the dumping of the factory's furnace oil into a water body connected to the river.  

He had confirmed the matter to bdnews24.com the following day. 

"The power plant had stopped dumping its furnace oil into a water body after being informed. The channel, which was used to dump the oil into the wetland, had been filled immediately, said UNO Ruhul Amin. 

The authorities secretly dumped its furnace oil with water after heavy rains, said zoology teacher at Chattogram University Manzurul Kibria, who leads Chattogram University Halda River Research Laboratory.

"The oil was not dumped willingly," manager and engineer Safiuddin Ahmed had claimed responding to the allegation at that time, citing flash floods triggered by monsoon rains.  

After being inaugurated by Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina in 2012, at least two official notices have been issued against the power plant over pollution, but no progress has been made to resolve the problem.