Dhaka, August 27 (PTI): Bangladesh Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina on Saturday warned the opposition Bangladesh Nationalist Party (BNP), that any attempt by it to create “anarchy” over the issue of the Indo-Bangladesh coal fired power plant at Rampal on the edge of the Sundarbans mangrove forests will be controlled with an “iron hand”.
“Let me tell you one thing, I would have been the first person to oppose the power plant had there been the slightest chance of damage of the Sundarbans,” she told a press conference at her Ganobhaban residence here.
Hasina issued a stern warning against attempts to create anarchy by “making a non-issue an issue”, saying “we will not hesitate to control it with an iron hand”.
The Premier’s comments came three days after Bangladesh Nationalist Party (BNP) chief and ex-premier Khaleda Zia termed the proposed Rampal coal-fired power plant “anti- people” and “unprofitable” as she asked the government to pull back from the project for the sake of the country’s ecological balance.
“If the project is implemented, our beloved motherland will no longer remain a place worthy of living…no citizen of the country will accept it,” Khaleda had said while expressing her fear that it would reduce employment opportunities for the people who depend on the Sundarbans mangrove forest, the largest such forest in the world.
The BNP had said earlier than it would announce action programs protesting the 1,320 MW power plant. It extended support to a left-leaning national committee to protect mineral resources, petroleum, forests and ports.
Bangladesh and India last month signed a deal to set up the plant. The Bangladesh-India Friendship Power Company (Pvt) Limited (BIFPCL), a joint venture enterprise, inked a deal with the Indian state-run Bharat Heavy Electricals Limited (BHEL), which was selected through an open international tender for constructing the “ultra-super critical thermal plant.”
India’s Exim Bank would finance the USD 1.49 billion project, scheduled to start generating power in 2019.
Bangladesh will share 50 per cent of the profit with India while the produced electricity would be used entirely by Bangladesh.
Hasina said the proposed plant would be having “all available ultra modern technology to prevent pollution” using the “highest standard coal” to be imported from Australia, Indonesia and South Africa” instead of low-grade Indian coal.