The National Board of Revenue (NBR) has started its function to install chemical testing units in 14 land customs houses (land ports).
Among the 14 units, nine will be installed with the aid of the Asian Development Bank (ADB) and remaining five will be installed with government's own fund.
The NBR has stated this information in a report submitted to the attorney general's office, said Deputy Attorney General ABM Abdullah Al Mahmud Bashar adding that the report will be placed in the concerned High Court bench today (Monday).
The NBR submitted the report complying with an earlier directive of the High Court for submitting the updates on chemical testing units at land and sea ports in Bangladesh.
ADB funded units will be installed in Bhomra, Burimari, Hilli, Banglabandha, Sonamosjid, Shaola, Tamabil, Bibirbazar and Teknaf land ports.
Meanwhile, the construction work is underway to set up a central chemical testing laboratory in Dhaka with the aid of the ADB, also said the state counsel quoting the report.
He said construction work was halted for several months in 2020 due to Covid-19 situation, but it has started again in full swing.
The High Court passed a much-anticipated order on February 29 in 2012 to check the use of chemical in fruits. The order was passed following a writ filed by a rights organisation, Human Rights Peace for Bangladesh (HRPB).
The High Court on June 23 in 2019 ordered the revenue board chairman to implement the order passed in 2012. The NBR was directed by the court to set up those facilities to detect whether chemically treated fruits are being imported into the country.
The High Court on October 22 in 2019 again asked the National Board of Revenue to submit the updates on chemical testing units at land and sea ports in Bangladesh. Complying with the High Court directive, the NBR submitted the updates.
A report submitted earlier by the NBR said that though Chattogram customs has a modern chemical laboratory, Dhaka customs does not have any laboratory of its own. Imported fruits through Dhaka customs house are tested at the Plant Quarantine Office of the Ministry of Agriculture.
Besides, Mongla and Benapole customs houses have chemical testing laboratories though the fruits are not imported through these ports, also read the report.