'Our constitution says people of Bangladesh are the owner of all national heritages and properties'
Any decision regarding any national heritage site taken by the government without the consent of the people is unconstitutional, lawyer and human rights activist Advocate Sultana Kamal said.
“Our constitution says people of Bangladesh are the owner of all national heritages and properties. The government cannot take any decision without their consent," said the former executive director of Ain O Salish Kendra (Ask) at a press conference on Friday.
The press conference, organized by the National Committee for Saving the Sundarbans (NCSS), was held at the National Press Club in Dhaka.
She said if the Sundarbans loses its status as a heritage site, it will bring disgrace upon the whole nation.
"The government sent a report to Unesco (The United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization) in December 2018 about their activities to protect the Sundarbans," she said.
The NCSS has requested the government for a copy of the report, but are yet to receive it, she mentioned.
Sultana Kamal, who is also the convener of NCSS, said the decision to build Rampal Power Plant near the Sundarbans is completely a political decision.
Shamsul Huda, executive director of the Association of Land Reform and Development (ALRD), said they are not against the development of the country. "But, our stand is against those projects which harm the nature."
"The entire country is dependent on the Sundarbans due to several reasons. Any development project which could harm it is just equal to suicide,” he said.
Speakers at the programme urged the government to cancel the Rampal Power Plant project, and take the initiative to build plants with alternative technology other than coal.
Ruhin Hossain Prince, central committee leader of the Communist Party of Bangladesh, said if the demand is not met by July 10th, they would go for a bigger movement to protect the Sundarbans.
The 43rd session of the World Heritage Committee will be held at Baku in the Republic of Azerbaijan from June 30 to July 10. World Heritage Committee recommended labeling the Sundarbans as a “World Heritage in Danger.”