Leaders of the National Committee to Protect Oil, Gas, Mineral Resources, Power and Ports yesterday said they would protect the Sundarbans the same way the Phulbari Movement had resisted then the government's open-pit coal mining move in 2006.
Projects that go against the people, society and environment as well as welcome destruction is not development, they said at a meeting in front of the Central Shaheed Minar in Dhaka organised marking the 10th anniversary of the Phulbari Tragedy Day.
Three protesters – Al Amin, Torikul and Salekin – were killed and over 200 others injured at Phulbari of Dinajpur as police and BDR opened fire on a procession demanding cancellation of the open-pit mining agreement with Asia Energy (now GCM Plc) on August 26, 2006.
Following this, then the BNP-Jamaat government signed a six-point agreement with the National Committee on August 30 pledging to ban Asia Energy and open-pit mining, and try the persons responsible for the deaths. Then opposition leader Sheikh Hasina from a rally at Phulbari on September 4 extended her support for the cause.
Activists at different parts of the country including Dinajpur organised programmes to mark the day yesterday demanding that the government cancels the deal with Asia Energy and implement the six-point agreement immediately.
Speakers at the Dhaka programme yesterday alleged that local and international looters had failed to gain their interests from Phulbari following a mass protest, but now they were trying to destroy the Sundarbans mangrove forest, UNB reported.
Chaired by committee Convener Sheikh Mohammad Shahidullah, the meeting was addressed, among others, by columnist Syed Abul Maksud, Prof MM Akash, Ruhin Hossain Prince and Noor Mohammad.
The Bangladesh-India Friendship Power Company Ltd (BIFPCL), a joint venture company formed by Dhaka and New Delhi, has signed a contract with Indian contractor BHEL to install the 1,320MW coal-based power plant at Rampal of Bagerhat. Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina inaugurated the construction of the plant on October 5, 2013.