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বাংলা
Dhaka Tribune

No environmental clearance for Banshkhali plant

Update : 03 May 2016, 02:22 AM
The Department of Environment (DoE) has refused to issue an environmental clearance certificate for the proposed 1,224 megawatt imported coal-fired power plant of S Alam Group in Banshkhali, Chittagong; apparently because there were some issues with the submitted documents. According to the minutes of an April 28 DoE meeting on environmental clearance certificate on, it was decided that a certificate would not be issued to the Banshkhali plant. The DoE meeting was presided by Sultan Ahmed, director and convener of of the environmental clearance certificate committee. “We found that some documents and information submitted by S Alam group were missing. We have asked them to re-submit those,” Sultan told the Dhaka Tribune yesterday. Under the circumstances, the construction of this controversial power plant is facing another road block in its implementation. Earlier on April 4, four people were killed in a clash between police and two groups of villagers over the construction of the coal-based power plant. On February 16, the government signed a deal allowing the joint venture of Bangladesh’s S Alam Group, and China’s SEPCO-3 Electric Power Construction Corporation and HTG Group to build an ultra supercritical thermal power plant with a net capacity of 1,224MW at a cost of $2.4bn. But Power Division officials are now expressing concerns that the plant might not be implemented at the proposed Banshkhali location as local protesters have declared fresh demonstrations. According to the minutes of the 369th meeting of the DoE, S Alam group was asked to revise the environmental impact assessment report (EIA). The revised report must have signatures and seals from senior officials of S Alam Group on each page. It must also contain other necessary supporting documents. An official from DoE said other conditions would be added for S Alam group to secure the clearance certificate. The official said as there had been a controversy centring the project, they were choosing to take a “slow-on policy” on the project so that there would be no pressure on them in the future. That is why every thing was being meticulously checked before issuing a clearance certificate. It might take a lot more time for the final issuance, the official hinted. Seeking anonymity, an official with the Power Division told the Dhaka Tribune that this project of S Alam has become a hindrance against the implementation of other government projects. If the project failed to get environmental clearance, then the implementation of this project will be delayed; so this makes the implementation of the project a distant possibility, the official added.
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