More than 58 percent of brick kilns are being operated illegally in Barishal division, according to the Department of Environment.
In March, DoE demolished 13 such brick kilns and fined four owners Tk 20 lakh in three drives, said officials. They said they will continue drives against unauthorised brick kilns round the year.
According to the DoE, the division has a total of 406 brick kilns in Barishal, Pirojpur, Barguna and Jhalakati. Of those, 170 have environmental clearance. The remaining 236 have no such approval. Among the illegal brick kilns, 102 are made with traditional drum chimneys.
Md Muntasir, a biochemist at DoE divisional office in Barishal, said they could not intensify the drive in four months before March due to manpower crisis; besides, no magistrate was assigned in the process.
At present, a magistrate, who has come from Dhaka, is conducting the operation, he said.
Md Kamruzzaman Sarkar, deputy director of the DoE office, echoed him.
According to the office, five illegal brick kilns were demolished and more than one lakh raw bricks were destroyed in Hularhat, Pirojpur on March 9. Similarly, five brick kilns in Amtali upazila of Barguna were demolished; and in Jhalakati’s Nalchhity, three were knocked down and four were fined Tk 20 lakh.
Kamruzzaman also said they were facing a manpower shortage.
Thirty-two officers and employees are posted in the Barishal division while 24 posts — including the posts of director and two assistant director — are vacant, said the official.
“But we have decided to continue the operation despite the crisis,” he added.
Rafiqul Alom, president of Bangladesh Paribesh Andolon (Bapa), Barishal divisional unit, said the Department of Environment should take strict measures against those involved in operating such illegal brick kilns.