The Department of Environment (DoE) has recently overruled a proposal for supplying Mirsarai Economic Zone with water collected from the River Halda daily terming it as a "non-recommended" project.
The DoE refused to approve the project considering its potential adverse impact on the biodiversity of the River Halda while the Chattogram Water Supply and Sewerage Authority (CWasa) has already lifted water for its three water treatment plants.
In the project titled "Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujib Shilpa Nagar (BSMSN) Water Supply Project", the CWasa sought permission from DoE to treat 14 crore liters of water for use in the Mirsarai Economic Zone.
At the 474th Environment Clearance committee meeting held recently, Masud Iqbal M Shamim, director of the DoE, announced the project as "not recommended" and asked for alternate sources of water.
The DoE took the decision based on recommendations from the Bangabandhu Fisheries Heritage Implementation Committee and the National River Protection Commission.
The CWasa has already extracted nine crore liters of water from the River Halda for its "Mohora Water Treatment Plant-1" and another nine crore liters of water for Sheikh Russel Water Treatment Plant phase-1 while the phase-2 is yet to start.
Jamir Uddin, deputy director of the DoE Chattogram district office, confirmed the news and said the CWasa had submitted their environment impact assessment (EIA) clearance seeking permission to use Halda water.
The environment department, however, asked the Chattogram Wasa to look for alternative water sources, he added.
The government has declared the River Halda flowing through Chattogram and Khagrachhari as a "Bangabandhu Fisheries Heritage", meaning fish or aquatic animals cannot be caught from this river.
However, during the breeding season every year, fertilised fish eggs may be procured at specific times under the supervision of the Department of Fisheries.
During pre-breeding and breeding season (March-July) for Rohu fish, no engine-driven boat will be allowed to ply the river.
The Ministry of Fisheries and Animal Resources issued a notice on Monday, declaring the River Halda a Bangabandhu Fisheries Heritage. The notice also declared that fish cannot be harvested during the breeding season (February-July) in 17 canals connected with the river.