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PM affirms Rampal plant won’t harm Sundarbans

  • Published at 07:33 pm August 27th, 2016
PM affirms Rampal plant won’t harm Sundarbans
From a press conference yesterday at Ganabhaban, the premier reiterated that the 1,320MW plant would not cause any harm to the Sundarbans mangrove forest. She alleged that the protesters were creating panic among the people by portraying the project as destructive. Hasina, who unveiled the foundation plaque of the project on October 5, 2013, smelt conspiracy in BNP Chairperson Khaleda Zia’s expressing solidarity with the anti-Rampal movement. The government maintains that they would use high-end technology at the plant to mitigate environmental hazards and that the process would be monitored by the regulator, Department of Environment. From an agitation programme at the Central Shaheed Minar on August 20, the National Committee announced to observe Dhaka March on November 24 if the government does not cancel the project by this time, and a grand rally in Dhaka on November 26. The prime minister yesterday presented examples of coal-based plants in different countries. Prior to her speech, Director General of Power Cell Mohammed Hossain gave a presentation on different aspects of the project. Labelling the protesters as “anti-development vested quarters,” Hasina said that the plant’s location was about 14km away from the outer boundary of the Sundarbans. “We are going to set up an ultra super critical power plant at Rampal. The plant will be equipped with the best technologies of the world,” she said. The premier also said that her government would plant around 5 lakh trees in the surrounding area of the plant. The project would generate employment for the people who cut trees of the forest, she said. Hasina assured that they would import best quality coal from Indonesia, Australia and South Africa. “All sorts of modern technology will be used to curb any kind of pollution,” she added. Denying the possibility of pollution of the Pashur River water, Hasina said that the authorities would dredge the river regularly to maintain navigability. She recalled that the Unesco declared the Sundarbans a World Heritage during her rule “due to its effective initiatives.” Terming coal the “most reliable source of future energy,” Hasina, who won the UN Champions of the Earth Award last year, said it would impossible to continue supply of natural gas to the gas-based power plants in near future. Developed countries like the USA, France, Germany, China, Japan and neighbouring India meet about 40% to 98% of their electricity demand from electricity generated by the coal-based power plants, “but it is little below 2% in Bangladesh,” she said.
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