Reiterating its concerns over detrimental effects of the Rampal coal-fired power plant on the Sundarbans, the National Committee to Protect Oil, Gas, Mineral Resources, Power and Ports has again urged governments of Bangladesh and India to refrain from setting up the power plant in the vicinity of the world’s largest mangrove forest.
The National Committee’s Convenor Engr Sheikh Muhammad Shahidullah and Member Secretary Prof Anu Muhammad said in a press statement that they were deeply observing that Bangladesh parts of the Sundarbans may be dropped off the list of world heritage sites as Bangladesh and Indian governments are irrationally and stubbornly proceeding with the power plant.
“If the plant is set up, local and foreign criminal groups will be even more active, and Bangladesh will totally be unprotected. Moreover, lives of over 5 crore people living in coastal areas of both countries will be severely jeopardised,” reads the statement issued on Sunday, on the eve of the World Heritage Committee’s 41st session being hosted in Kraków, Poland from 2-12 July.
It adds: “Presenting scientific data on harmful effects of the project, the Unesco on several occasions tried to convince the Bangladesh government to retreat from its move. But, now a decision to drop the parts from the list will likely be taken at the session as a punishment for the countries’ obstinate behaviour.
“The prime minister [of Bangladesh] took no heed of the arguments. Instead, she insists that there will be no detrimental effects.”
“We also presented scientific data to the government on the project’s adverse consequences, saying the arguments the companies concerned put forward about eradicating pollution is unsubstantiated and contradictory to tenders as well as other documents,” Anu and Shahidullah said.
Mentioning that the people of Bangladesh will never accept such destructive projects, the National Committee, which has long been protesting the plant, demanded all moves detrimental to the Sundabans be stopped immediately.