A High Court Judge has said he is ‘uncomfortable’ hearing a petition seeking a stay on the Rampal Power Plant Project.
The junior Judge in the HC bench of Justice Naima Haider and Justice Zafar Ahmed felt ‘uncomfortable’ when the matter came up for hearing on Wednesday.
Advocate Manzil Morshed, the plaintiff’s counsel, told bdnews24.com that, according to norms, the matter would now go to the Chief Justice, who would decide the issue.
Four lawyers – Asaduzzaman Siddiqui, Md Eklas Uddin Bhuiyan, Mahbubul Islam and Syeda Shahin Ara Laily – filed the petition on Sunday.
A preliminary hearing was held on Monday. Advocate Manzil Morshed represented the plaintiff, and Attorney General Mahbube Alam and Deputy Attorney General Md Mokhlesur Rahman, the state.
Monday’s hearing was put off as the plaintiff was not able to produce the HC order on a previous writ.
Secretaries of the prime minister’s office, cabinet division, planning ministry, environment ministry and power ministry as well the director general of the department of environment, Power Development Board chairman, Deputy Commissioner of Bagerhat district, and director of the Rampal Coal-fired Power Plant Project have been made party to the case and named as the defendants.
The petition sought a rule for a detailed evaluation of the project by a committee of ‘globally acclaimed’ environmentalists.
The experts would study the proposed plant’s impact on the Sundarban’s fragile eco-system and people living in the area, the petition has suggested.
It also sought an order for the power plant’s relocation to a less vulnerable place.
The writ prayed for a stay on the project’s execution until the specialist panel submitted its report.
“There is a fear of environmental disaster if the plant is built in that area. Again, some people are saying nothing would happen. In a general sense, it seems to me there would be an adverse impact on the environment. But we are no experts,” Advocate Manzil Morshed told bdnews24.com on the day the writ was filed.
The Sundarbans is the pride of the country and a part of world heritage, he added.
Along with copies of news reports on the issue, the plaintiff also submitted two previous rulings on the matter.
A couple of writs had been filed before the Rampal Power Project kicked-off. A High Court ruling had stalled the project work.
According to Morshed, the previous petitions had sought, without success, the scrapping of the project. So, a fresh petition was being filed.-bdnews24.com