The National Committee on Protection of Oil, Gas, Mineral Resources, Power and Ports will stage another long march to the Sundarbans in the next month, demanding scrapping of the construction of the coal-fired Rampal power plant and Orion power plant.The programme will be held from Mar 10 to 15 starting from Dhaka, convenor of the committee Anu Muhammad, told at a press conference at Dhaka Reporters Unity yesterday.
He also said that prior to the long march protest rallies would be organised in Dhaka and Narayanganj on 15 February and discussion meetings would be held with people of different professions from 22 February to 5 March.
Earlier, in 2013 the platform had staged another long march to Sundarbans with the same demand.
He said: “We repeatedly reminded the government of the harmful effects of Rampal power plant project. The Bangladesh-India joint venture is translucent and unequal. The Sundarbans has been preserving Bangladeshi people and its nature as armor. It protects the natural balance as reservoir of biodiversity.”
With the financial assistance of an Indian power company, the government signed memorandum of understanding (MoU) on 29 January 2012 to set up this 1,320mW coal-fired power plant some 10 kilometres from the Sundarbans. The project has been named Bangladesh-India Friendship Power Company Limited. The two countries have their equal shares in the project.
Environment specialists and Rampal area residents echoing with the oil, gas committee think the project would destroy the ecosystem, biodiversity and wildlife of the world’s largest mangrove forest, the government said the insists that proper measures will be taken to protect the environment from pollution.
Anu Muhammad said Indian company NPTC has got involved in the project violating the laws of their own country. According to India’s EIA guidelines-2010, power plants cannot be set up within a 25-kilometre radius of forest areas. But the power plant is going to be set up within 4-km off the forest considering a 14-km buffer zone around the Sundarbans.
The press conference was also attended by Communist Party of Bangladesh leader Ruhin Hossain Prince, Socialist Party of Bangladesh leader Bazlur Rashid Firoz and Ganasanghati coordinator Junayed Saki were also present.