The government has been developing the project for the 1320MW coal-fired power plant near the Sundarbans jointly with NTPC (India), raising concerns among environmental experts and activists from around the world.
It is believed that the plant will have severely negative consequences for the world’s largest single tract mangrove forest, but the government has repeatedly denied the allegations.
A grand rally organized by the National Committee to Protect Oil-Gas-Mineral Resources Power and Port on November 26th, 2016, in Central Shaheed Minar, Dhaka, was attended by more than 15 thousand people from different parts of the country, as they called for the global community to observe the day of protest on January 7, 2017.
“We hope you are aware of our 5 year long people’s movement for the cancellation of this Rampal Power plant. Many friends from around the world have already expressed their solidarity for the campaign to save Sundarbans,” read a statement of action provided by the National Committee.
“We believe the observance of a global day would strengthen our unity, uphold our common spirit, and take our struggle to a new level to protect mother-nature from disastrous, profit hungry projects,” the statement continued.
The statement added that such a show of global solidarity would also increase awareness of sustainable development and ecology friendly power generation.
Environmentalists claim that, in addition to having a direct impact on the Sundarbans, the Rampal power plant would also invite the grabbing of land for commercial projects in and around the mangrove forest, clearly issuing its death warrant.
Not only has this put the livelihood of at least 3.5 million people at risk, it has also endangered the lives of around 50 million coastal people, making them more vulnerable to natural disasters, as the Sundarbans acts as a major natural safeguard against storms and cyclones.
Committee Member-Secretary Professor Anu Muhammad called for people to join in the protest no matter where they were, in a Facebook post yesterday.
So far, it has been learned that the protests will be held at different scheduled times on Saturday at Berlin’s Brandenburg Gate, Melbourne’s Federation Square, Paris’s Place de la République, and the Hague s’ Peace Palace, among others.
As part of the global day of action and in solidarity with the movement, New York-based Bangladeshi environmental groups, Friends of the Earth U.S. and their allies will hold a protest on Saturday, January 7, at Union Square Park.