National Comittee on Oil-Gas terms invitation to Ramphal trap, rejects

National Comittee on Oil-Gas terms invitation to Ramphal trap, rejects

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The National Committee to Protect Oil-Gas, Power-Port and Natural Resources have rejected an invitation of the Energy and Power Ministry to visit the site of the Rampal coal-fired power plant, all-expenses paid.
The committee comprising mostly Marxists, environmentalists and social activists termed the invitation a “trap” to obtain a disingenuous approval of the project on their behalf, and thus justify the government’s misdeeds.“This invitation is to cover their weakness. We’ve already visited the Rampal site several times. There is nothing to see again under their hospitalities,” said Engineer Sheikh Muhammad Shahidullah, convenor of the National Committee, while addressing a press conference on Thursday.
State Minister for Power and Energy Nasrul Hamid had invited the leaders of the National Committee to be part of a team scheduled to visit Rampal on November 19.
The National Committee not only turned down the offer, but also put forward their own proposal of a public debate to discuss merits and demerits of the project, after suspending all project activity for the 1320 MW coal-fired power plant.
The Power Division has sent similar invitations to other individuals and organisations opposing the project on environmental grounds, especially its proximity to the Sundarbans.
The Committee’s response to the state minister was signed by convener Engr. Shahidullah and committee member secretary Prof Anu Mohammad.
At Thursday’s press conference at Mukti Bhaban, a copy of the reply was read out by Anu Mohammad, who also responded to a Power Division advertisement published in different newspapers disgracing their campaign against the power plant.
The convener of the National Committee leaders said they want to clear their position that they have not shifted their position. He said the committee would continue to oppose the project as it would destroy the world heritage Sundardbans.
Shahidullah pointed out a number of European banks, including from France and Norway, had refused to fund the Rampal project on the same grounds as the National Committee.
Anu Mohammad said in total disregard of the huge possibility of an environmental disaster in the Sundarbans resulting from this project, the Bangladesh government has been moving ahead only to serve the Indian interest.
“We don’t exactly know what is that Indian interest. But India might have a geopolitical strategic consideration about this location of Rampal. If it is, then it is even more dangerous,” he said.
Recent Chinese and Japanese interest in the project clearly shows its geopolitical importance, according to the Jahangirnagar University economics professor.
Anu Mohammad announced a national convention on Sundarbans on November 14 at the National Press Club, as well as an action programme to force the government to scrap the project. Committee members Ruhin Hossain Prince of the Communist Party of Bangladesh and Bazlur Rashid Firoz of Bangladesh Samajtantrik Dal also spoke at the function.- Agencies

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