The High Court on Sunday ordered Dhaka Water Supply and Sewerage Authority (Wasa) to remove its sewerage lines connected to the Buriganga River within the next six months.
Responding to a time extension petition by Wasa, the bench of Justice Gobinda Chandra Tagore and Justice Mohammad Ullah also asked the government agency to submit a progress report within a month, said writ petitioner Manzill Murshid.
Meanwhile, the managing director of Wasa offered an unconditional apology to the court for falsely claiming in an affidavit on June 18 that no sewerage line was connected to Buriganga.
The court said it will take a decision later depending on sewerage line removal activities.
The Department of Environment (DoE) was ordered to seal off industrial farms discharging wastes into the river and those running without its clearance.
Advocate Ummey Salma represented Wasa while Advocate Amatul Karim stood for DoE.
On December 2, the HC directed Wasa to take necessary steps to close its 68 sewerage lines connected to Buriganga to prevent pollution.
It also asked Bangladesh Inland Water Transport Authority (BIWTA) to take steps to stop other sewerage lines, if any, on both banks of the river and submit a compliance report within January 7 next.
On November 17, the HC directed DoE to shut 27 establishments adjacent to the Buriganga within 15 days for not having environmental clearance.
Besides, the court issued a show-cause notice asking why action should not be taken against the Dhaka Wasa managing director for submitting false information in the form of an affidavit.
It was learnt that Dhaka Wasa, in its affidavit, said its 930-km sewerage line disposes wastes at Pagla sewerage treatment plant and no line is connected to the Buriganga.
However, a BIWTA report said Wasa dumps industrial and hospital wastes, and contaminated water into the Buriganga through 68 sewerage lines at different places of Dhaka, Keraniganj, and Narayanganj.
After comparing the two reports, the HC said Dhaka Wasa submitted false information which is tantamount to a crime.
In 2011, the High Court issued directives to prevent the pollution of Buriganga after hearing a writ petition filed by Human Rights and Peace for Bangladesh.
As the HC order went unheeded, the organisation filed an appeal again in this regard.