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TIB condemns Government decision to legalize illegal housing projects; Demands cancellation

TIB condemns Government decision to legalize illegal housing projects; Demands cancellation

Dhaka, July 31, 2012: Transparency International Bangladesh (TIB) condemned the Government’s reported decision to legalize some illegal housing schemes defying High Court directive and environmental concerns.

Raising deep concern over the decision by an inter-ministerial body to “provisionally” approve the projects that were declared illegal by High Court in June last year, TIB called upon the Government to cancel the decision immediately and refrain from doing the same for any other similar project.

Executive Director of TIB, Dr Iftekharuzzaman said, “The decision is as regrettable, illegal and unacceptable as damaging for the reputation of a government itself. It raises questions about the Government’s commitment to rule of law, public interest and environmental justice”.

He said that the Government decision on the one hand defies the Court directive to take action against illegal schemes in wetlands, water bodies and croplands, and on the other undermines the credibility of government in terms of its commitment to environmental sustainability.

“It is a commonplace wisdom for all including the Environmental Department of the Government that the projects in question, lying within the jurisdiction of the Detailed Area Plan (DAP) has been declared illegal particularly for their adverse environmental implications”.

“No words can sufficiently condemn the apparent collusion of a section of the Government with the powerful lobbies of housing companies at the expense of future sustainability of life and living”,  Zaman said.

He further said, “Such moves are bound to erode the environmental credibility of the Government and raise doubts about the moral and ethical basis of its high-sounding commitment to confront environmental degradation and climate change using national and international funds”.

“We call upon the Government to cancel the approvals without fear or favour to anybody and refrain from doing the same with respect to any other similar illegal projects”, the statement said.