BLAST and BELA vs. Bangladesh and others [‘Water Logging’ Case]

Writ Petition No. 7123 of 2006

High Court Division of the Supreme Court of Bangladesh

BLAST and the Bangladesh Environmental Lawyers Association (BELA) filed a writ petition seeking directions to address the sufferings of the local people of Abhaynagar, Manirampur and Keshabpur Upazillas of Jessore caused by the long standing water logging resulting from the implementation of the faulty Khulna Jessore Drainage Rehabilitation Project (KJDRP) funded by the Asian Development Bank (ADB) and the Bangladesh Water Development Board (BWDB). The inhabitants of the localities were compelled to live an inhuman life because their homesteads, agricultural lands, academic institutions and roads had been water logged since October 2005.

The petitioners argued that the continued failure and inaction of the concerned authorities to redress the water logging in the area resulted in inhuman suffering of the people and in effect, constituted flagrant violations of their constitutionally guaranteed rights to life, livelihood and property under Articles 32 and 42 read with Articles 15, 17 and 20 of the Constitution.

Order: The Court directed the government to show cause within a month as to why the failure to redress the prolonged water logging in the three Upazillas of Jessore affecting the lives, properties, livelihood, safety, and health of the people should not be declared to be without lawful authority and why they should not be directed to draw up necessary action plans in consultation with the local people and why a direction should not be issued upon respondents to form an appropriate committee to permanently resolve the catastrophe and arrange for adequate compensation for the local people against the losses resulting from such water logging. Pending hearing, the Court also directed the respondents to provide all such services, products, goods and other supports as are required within the resources of the government to ensure that the people of the affected villages of the three Upazillas are safely located and are receiving food, water, medicine and other essentials during such period as the water logging continues and to take immediate interim measures to pump out or otherwise arrange for recession of water from the affected villages.

Laws Cited: Constitution, 15, 17, 20, 32 and 42

Status: Pending hearing


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