“There are alternative fuels for generating electricity and places to install power plants … but the Sundarbans has no alternative,” the three-time former premier said during a press briefing at her Gulshan office yesterday.
In her written statement, Khaleda said that 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
She suggested that the government concentrate on renewable sources.
Of the total project cost, Bangladesh would bear 15%, India 15 % and the rest 70% would be provided through bank loans. She said that if the Indian company failed to repay its share of the loan, Bangladesh would have to take up the whole burden.
Again, investing only 15% of the project and taking 50% of the total tax-free profit was not fair as it was Bangladesh that would have to face 100% environmental adversity, said Khaleda.
She observed that producing electricity by jeopardising the country’s ecology was anti-state and anti-people.
She alleged that although the government had all the documents on the adverse impact of the power plant, it was refusing to change its stance, rather became desperate to implement the project hurriedly. “It proves that the autocratic government does not care about public opinion and the country’s interests.”
The BNP chief alleged that people were sceptical and concerned about the government’s desperateness to execute the project hurriedly though it is not economically profitable.
She said that the government was implementing the project ignoring the objections of Unesco, Ramsar Convention and even the Bangladesh’s Forest Department.
She alleged that around 8,000 families were evicted from their land and denied compensation.
Khaleda mentioned that Indian’s National Thermal Power Plant wanted to establish a coal-based power plant in Madhya Pradesh, but the Indian government rejected the proposal as it would adversely affect the environment. “... so they are doing it in Bangladesh only for business interests. And the Bangladesh government, who is not responsible to people, has given the approval.”
She said that the PDB would have to buy electricity from the Rampal plant at double price and then sell to people in a subsidised price. “It raises questions why the government has taken up such a loss project. Since the government does not have any satisfactory answer, it is repressing