The proposed Rampal coal-based power plant in Bagerhat and the Patenga plant in Chittagong have not yet received environmental clearance, said minister for environment and forest Hasan Mahmud yesterday.
“Permission and environmental clearance certificate are yet to be issued for it [Rampal plant]. We are examining the matter before giving clearance,” said the minister at a press conference organised to allay environmental activists’ concerns.
About the Patenga power station, the minister said the Department of Environment (DoE) has not given any clearance certificates, and he was not sure how the plant was given the go-ahead by the Civil Aviation Authority of Bangladesh (Caab).
“They [Patenga plant] did not get the clearance for the location either. Because they violated the environmental rules, they have been punished as per the law. They paid penalty amounting to Tk2m for the offence.”
However, the minister claimed that the Rampal plant would not harm the biodiversity of the Sundarbans if they use modern technology.
“The power plant will be built few kilometers away from the Sundarbans. So, there is no chance of harming its environment,” the minister said, a day after a conservation group announced their agitation programme to demand the Rampal project’s cancellation.
He said some modern technology is available that can minimise the harmful effects of the plant on the environment.
“If the authorities use these technologies, it may reduce harmful elements in the Sundarbans. We hope they will use them,” the minister said.