The National Committee to Protect Oil, Gas, Mineral Resources, Power and Ports will hold a rally at Hadis Park in Khulna city Thursday demanding relocation of the Rampal power plant to protect the Sundarbans.
The committee made the announcement of the protest programme at a press conference in Dhaka on Tuesday, says a press release.
The construction of the mega 1,320MW coal-based power plant at Rampal is set to begin soon as the government on April 10 signed a deal with Indian Exim Bank to finance the joint venture project.
The Bangladesh-India Friendship Power Company Limited (BIFPCL) authorities have also issued the Notice to Proceed for the plant amid huge outcry by environmentalists and left parties. The activists staged a series of demonstrations at home and abroad demanding relocation of the plant.
Construction of the main plant was earlier scheduled to begin in March this year.
The Unesco and the Ramsar Convention also expressed concerns over the possible impact of the mega scheme.
But the government maintains that it will not harm the biodiversity of the Unesco World Heritage Site or the nearby Pasur River, which is a sanctuary for sweet-water dolphins. The location is close to the Mongla Port which will reduce cost of transporting the coal to be imported for the plant.
Quoting scientific research data, the National Committee leaders claim it is now confirmed that the coal-based thermal power plant in Rampal will harm Bangladesh in a vicious way.
Anu Muhammad, the member secretary of the National Committee, said: “The power plant will not only cause harm to Khulna district, but also Bagerhat, Satkhira, Barguna, Pirojpur, Jhalakati, Patuakhali, Bhola and Barisal coastal districts.”
“The power plant will cause serious damage to the nation through water and air pollution, and increase the risk of natural disaster,” National Committee Convenor Sheikh Muhammad Shahidullah said.
The premier inaugurated the project in October 2013.
“The government’s move is against the national interest. It is holding firm on the construction despite the huge financial burden the plant will create resulting in the high price of electricity,” said Communist Party of Bangladesh central committee Member Ruhin Hossain Prince.
“We condemn such government move putting the Sundarbans and the Pasur River towards danger. We will go for tougher movement against the project,” he warned.
“We still believe the government will step back from the decision to build the coal-based power plant,” said MA Sabur Rana, member of Bangladesh Paribesh Andolon.