Khaleda urges Govt to cancel Rampal power project

Khaleda urges Govt to cancel Rampal power project

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Dhaka-BNP chairperson Khaleda Zia yesterday demanded of the government to cancel the coal-fired Rampal power plant for the sake of the country’s ecological balance and natural beauty.“Different studies have proved that if the Rampal power plant is set up on the bank of river Poshur and so near to the Sundarbans, the natural balance of Bangladesh will be destroyed and its adverse impact will be long-term” she said while addressing a press conference at her Gulshan office.
She said even after putting up all the evidence, the government not only ignored it is going ahead to implement the project faster. It proves that the government being an autocratic does not care about the public opinion and interest of the country, she said.
The former premier termed the decision to set up the 1320mw power plant anti-state and anti-people and said the government is imposing the decision to the people forcibly by ignoring the public opinion.
On behalf of the BNP-led 20-party alliance, she made a clarion call to the people to raise their voice in favour of the demand to cancel the Rampal project.
The BNP chairperson surrounded by 20-party leader however did not announced any programme against the Rampal project.
In her written statement, she gave a scientific explanation as to how the Sundarbans, the mangrove forest, would be affected due to the adverse impact of the power plant.
“Our beloved native land will become unlivable, if the air of southern part of the country becomes toxic and natural barrier Sundarbans is destroyed,” she observed.
The BNP chairperson argued that there are many alternatives of power generation and places to set up power plant but there is no alternative to Sundarbans.
She also cited several disadvantages of the Rampal power plant.
Terming the project non-profitable, she said each Bangladesh Power Development Board and Indian company NTPC will invest 15 percent of the project while the rest of 70 percent funding will come from bank loan but Bangladesh would have to pay the bank loan, if the joint venture is closed or failed to pay the loan.
On the other hand, she said the neat profit will be shared by the two sides at a cost of 100 percent damage to Bangladesh’s environment. The Indian company will be allowed to take back their profit without any tax.
She said the people are questing as to why and whose interest the government is going ahead with such a losing concern. She herself replied that the government has no answer and that’s why they resorted to beating of the people who are opposing the project.
She claimed that the government has undertaken the “loss project” without taking the country’s environmental disaster into consideration.
Khaleda agreed that generation of necessary quantity of power for rapid industrialization, economic emancipation and meet the public demand is the demand of time and said it is the responsibility of the government to take necessary steps in this regard.
“But there is no scope to sacrifice public and notational interest to implement such initiative and government has also no such jurisdiction to do this,” she added.
The BNP chief suggested the government to explore alternative sources of power and energy like small gas generator power plant, hydro-power, bio-gas project and solar energy.
She said if the project in implemented it would destroy the natural barriers of southern region, the biodiversity, threaten the livelihood of people, contaminate the water and the environment and destroy the land and fishing resources.
“The stubborn stand of the government to implement the economically non-profitable project with faster is not only suspicious but very much alarming for the people,” she said.
Khaleda said the government is implementing the Rampal project just 14 killometers away from the Sundarbans and already allocated the money for land filling purpose of the project ignoring the opposition from environmentalists, social organization, and research institutions both from local and abroad.
Bangladesh and India signed an agreement on July 12 this year to construct a 1,320 megawatt coal-fired power plant at Rampal. Bangladesh-India Friendship Power Company (Pvt) Limited, the joint venture enterprise, inked the deal with Bharat Heavy Electricals Limited.
Andalib Rahman Partha of Bangladesher Jatiya Party, Shafiul Alam Prodhan of Jagpa, Mostafa Jamal Haider of Jatiya Party (Kazi Zafar), Syed Muhammed Ibrahim of Kallayan Party, among others, were present at the press conference.-STAFF REPORTER

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