Taking a swipe at those protesting the government's move to construct coal-based power plants, Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina has said some people have bizarre ideas about coal and coal-based power plants which have already led to the loss of lives.
“Some people in the country have some bizarre ideas… I don't know how these cross their minds, but some lives have been lost unnecessarily for such absurd talks… I have no idea what the motive is behind this,” she said yesterday during the inauguration of the newly constructed Dhaka Central Jail, pointing to the recent incident in Banshkhali, Chittagong that left four people dead.
Criticising the protesters, the premier said a section of people these days come up to stage protests in the name of protecting the environment when the government wants to produce more electricity through constructing power plants, reported UNB.
“You have already seen that this section of people won’t allow the construction of coal-based power plants [in the country],” she said.
Hasina said the government brought relief in public life by producing more electricity at the quickest possible time. “Now there is a move to resist that production. But this power production is necessary for our development.”
She mentioned that during its first tenure in 1996-2001, the Awami League government laid the foundation of coal-based power plants in Dinajpur and there are now two coal-based power plants there. “The construction for a third one is going on there.”
The prime minister also mentioned that there had been no adverse effect on the environment in that area, as paddy, trees were growing naturally while people were living their normal life.
Referring to the recent capsize of a coal-laden cargo vessel in a river that triggered huge outcry over water pollution, the prime minister said she was not sure how logical the reaction was, if science was taken into consideration.
She said: “When I was a child, there was a water filter in our house, the first layer of which was filled with coal. We used to pour water into that coal-filled layer first, then the water used to go through the sand-filled layer and after that we used to use that filtered water. We know coal also purifies water. Such water filters are still available in rural areas.”
If the coal-filled filter could purify water, then how the submerged coal would pollute the river water, the prime minister questioned.
Furthermore, she said some people claimed that there would be acid rain in the area surrounding a coal-based power plant. “What imagination this is!” she quipped.
Hasina said there are coal-based power plants around the world, including Oxford.
She mentioned that the ash generated in coal-based power plants are used in cement factories.
The programme was also addressed by Home Minister Asaduzzaman Khan, Home Secretary Dr Md Mozammel Haque Khan and Inspector General of Prisons Brig Gen Syed Iftekhar Uddin, among others.