The controversial agreement with Niko, a Canadian gas exploration company that caused damage to the Tengratila Gas Field at Chhatak, was challenged in the High Court (HC) Sunday, reports UNB.
Three human rights bodies - Bangladesh Environment Lawyers' Association (BELA), Ain-O-Shalish Kendra (ASK) and Odhikar - in a public interest litigation writ said Bangladesh Petroleum Exploration and Production Company (Bapex), a subsidiary of the Energy Ministry, has no locus standi for entering into joint venture agreement with a foreign company on national resource.
The agreement signed nearly two years ago was the violation of the Petroleum Act as well as Bangladesh Environmental Law. It was done in derogation of the Constitution, in a non-transparent manner with ill-motive to give undue benefits to Niko and its allies. The agreement was against the national interest and also gross abuse of power, submitted the petitioners.
The faulty drilling by Niko has reportedly resulted in blowup in Tengratila Gas Field twice in January and June causing a heavy loss to gas and environment as well.
Meanwhile, the joint venture agreement was signed on October 16, 2003 between BAPEX and Niko Resources Ltd for the development and production of petroleum from 'marginal/abandoned' gas fields of Chhatak and Feni.
Moving the petition Dr Kamal Hossain pleaded for freezing the bank account of Niko and suspending the payment against the supply of gas from its Feni Gas Field.
He also appeal to repeal the agreement and payment of adequate compensation for damaging the country's natural resource and environment.
The inconclusive hearing of the writ is scheduled to resume today (Monday) in the Vacation Bench comprising Justice MA Rashid and Justice M Fazlur Rahman.