Dhaka, August 24 (Dhaka Tribune): The opposition Bangladesh Nationalist Party (BNP) leader Khaleda Zia has asked the Sheikh Hasina government to scrap all procedures to set up the Indian-aided coal-fired power plant at Rampal to save the largest mangrove hub , the Sundarbans.
Khaleda told the media here on Wednesday, that there are other forms of fuel and other places to set up a power plant .Bangladesh has only one Sundarbans and that should not be destroyed on any account. Moreover while other countries are moving away from coal-based power plants, Bangladesh’s decision to build one just on the edge of the biggest mangrove forest is “hypocritical, irrational and non-lucrative”.
Of the total cost for the Rampal project, Bangladesh would bear 15%, India 15 % and the rest 70% would be provided by banks. Khaleda warned that if the Indian company fails to pay its share of the loan, Bangladesh would have to take up the whole burden.
And while investing only 15% of the project, the Indian company will take 50% of the total tax-free profit. This is not fair, especially when Bangladesh will have to face all the adverse environmental consequences of the project, Khaleda said.
She proposed that Bangladesh walk away from such a “suicidal” move immediately.
The Rampal power project will generate 1320 MW of power using coal, and will be Bangladesh’s largest power plant. It is a joint venture between India’s state owned National Thermal Power Corporation and the Bangladesh Power Development Board. The joint venture company is known as Bangladesh India Friendship Power Company. The proposed project, to be located over 1834 acres of land, is situated 14 kilometers north of the world’s largest Mangrove forest known as the Sundarbans, which is a UNESCO heritage site.
Human rights workers, intellectuals and artistes of Bangladesh have opposed the projects and had organized a sit in at the Shaheed Minar in Dhaka recently.