Greens concerned at threat to world’s large mangrove

The environmentalists expressed deep concern over the ecological impacts of the proposed coal-fired power plant with 1320-MW capacity under joint venture at Rampal to be set up by Bangladesh-India Friendship Power Company Ltd (BIFP), which is closer to the Sundarbans.They said, international environmental laws would be violated if the power plant is set up at Rampal, which is 10 km from the world’s large mangrove forest.
Convener and member secretary of National Committee to Protect Oil, Gas, Mineral Resources, Power and Port Engineer Sheikh Muhammad Shahidullah, and Professor Anu Muhammad, in a joint statement on Monday said that both Bangladesh and India are violating the international environment laws by signing the agreement, which is proposed to destroy the Sundarban.
Environmentalist Iqbal Habib rejecting the government Environment Impact Assessment (EIA) of BIFP said that the government should shun the plan of setting up the power plant near the Sundarbans. The government is implementing the project before the EIA study is complete.
He wanted to know how Bangladesh government agrees to set up the plant within 10 km of the Sundarbans while India herself does not allow a power plant within 25 km of a locality.
General Secretary of Bangladesh Paribesh Andolon (BAPA) Abdul Matin said two environment expert teams of Khulna University and Mymensingh Agricultural University conducted separate studies about the impact of the proposed power plant on the ecology, flora and fauna of the forest and livelihood.
Both the studies showed great negative impact on the environment, he said, adding one study found this power plant would bring 81 percent negative impact and 19 percent positive impact on them.
Prof Shamsul Alam of Consumers Association of Bangladesh (CAB) said that the EIA report only gave some ideas about environmental management plan, but not impact on the environment.
Engineer Shahidullah said if the coal-fired power plant project is implemented near the Sundarbans, it would invite more natural disasters like Sidr and Aila that damaged properties worth Tk 10,000 crore a few years ago.
Referring to his own study, he said, still the affected area suffers a loss of Tk 5000 crore annually while the country will get a benefit of only Tk 3000 crore through power generation. Staff Writer

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