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Give up Rampal power plant project: TIB urges govt

Give up Rampal power plant project: TIB urges govt

Dhaka, June 17 – Transparency International Bangladesh (TIB) on Monday urged the government to stop all ‘controversial projects’ including Rampal power plant which might pose a threat to largest mangrove Sundarbans.
Expressing concern over the UNESCO’s recent proposal of listing Sundarbans under the category of ‘World Heritage in Danger’, which will be placed at the 43rd session of the UNESCO World Heritage Committee at Baku in Azerbaijan, TIB urged the government to implement the recommendation of UNESCO by immediately suspending the controversial projects like Rampal power plant.
TIB executive director Dr Iftekharuzzaman in a statement said, “The proposal for the inclusion of Sundarbans on the proposed agenda of the 43rd session of World Heritage Committee under the category of world heritage in risk proves that Sundarbans is under threat due to different projects including Rampal – our apprehension and concern was not baseless.”
“We think, such situation has emerged for ignoring the global and local concern and counsel in the government initiatives for implementing such risky projects near Sundarbans without carrying out any strategic environmental assessment,” he added.
“All activities for setting up a coal-based power plant at Rampal, Taltoli and Kolapara should immediately suspend before the upcoming meeting at Baku to get rid of this situation. Steps have to be taken to implement the proposals of the UNESCO World Heritage Committee in this regard,” he said.
Reminding the sustainable development goal (SDG)11, Iftekharuzzaman said, “It was supposed to strengthen the government efforts to protect the world heritage to implement SDG. But it’s against the government pledges to adopt various projects including Rampal by posing threat to the world heritage Sundarbans.”
“There is no scope to remain silent after such a proposal of UNESCO. All possible steps should immediately be taken to protect Sundarbans,” he added.
He urged the government to take immediate steps to save the Sundarbans from the list of World Heritage in danger. Otherwise, Sundarbans will reach to the verge of destruction, he added.
Earlier, the official advisory organisation on natural World Heritage recommended putting the Sundarbans on a list of natural sites in danger as Bangladesh has continued implementing a coal-fired power plant project near the forest.
The World Heritage Committee of 21 governments is scheduled to decide on the recommendations by the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) in its annual meeting in Azerbaijan from June 30 to July 10.
In July 2017, UNESCO withdrew a plan to inscribe the Sundarbans in the list of heritage sites in danger by 2018 in case of the failure to meet the mission’s recommendations.
The government had been allowed until December 2018 at the time to report on the conservation of the world’s largest mangrove forest to the World Heritage Centre. – Staff Reporter