25 January 2017, Wed, 8:20

Secretary General criticizes government for its stubbornness to set up controversial power plant in Rampal

Secretary General of Bangladesh Jamaat-e-Islami, Dr. Shafiqur Rahman has issued the following statement on 25th January, 2017 expressing deep concern at the government’s plan to set up a coal-fired thermal power plant in Rampal, an adjacent area of the Sundarbans of the Khulna district.

“The government’s stubborn attitude about establishing a coal-fired thermal power plant in Rampal would be proved as a suicidal move for Bangladesh. This irrational initiative must be stopped immediately for the sake of the national interest.

Mangrove forest Sundarbans is a special blessing of Almighty Allah for Bangladesh. Very few countries in the world such a rare and unique forest like mangrove. This is not only ecological arrest but also a part of the life of the Bangladeshi people. If its existence comes under threat or if any part of this forest is hampered that would ultimately put the blessings of the Almighty at a stake. Such kind of initiative must be avoided. If this project is implemented, the great property of Sundarbans would be damaged.

The environmentalists, politicians, intellectuals and civil society members started expressing concern about this project and repeatedly called the Bangladesh government to stop this project since the government took the initiative for setting up a coal-fired thermal power plant in Rampal with the assistance of India. But the government is continuously showing its arrogance for materializing this anti-national project.

This land and civilization will sustain by the grace of Almighty Allah. No government is permanent. By the will of Almighty Allah, the incumbent government will be altered as well. But we will never get back our precious natural resource Sundarbans if it is destroyed.

It should be mentioned here that India’s National Thermal Power Corporation (NTPC)’s proposal of setting up a 1329 megawatt coal based power plant in India’s Madhya Pradesh has been rejected. They made a plan to establish a one thousand megawatt coal based power plant just 20 kilometers away from Rajib Gandhi national park in 2007. But the government of India forced to cancel this plan as well in 2008 due to massive protest from all quarters. Whilst India has been compelled to set up coal based power plant within its territory for the interest of the people, why they are planning then to set up such a controversial power plant in Rampal of Bangladesh?

The proposed Rampal power plant is just 14 kilometer away from the Sundarbans. The planning of establishing such a coal based power plant in such an adjacent area to Sundarbans can never be accepted. The Rampal power plant will cause emission of 142 ton of poisonous sulfur dioxide daily and 51 thousand 830 tons yearly. It will also emit 85 ton poisonous Nitrogen dioxide daily and 31 thousand 25 ton yearly. Such a huge amount of poisonous gas will increase sulfur in the air. Subsequently national environment will face risk and the ecology and natural balance in the Sundarbans and its adjacent area will be foiled.

If the Sundarbans is destroyed, Bangladesh will certainly face huge losses. The livelihood of around 4 million people directly depends on the Sundarbans. The Sundarbans protected Bangladesh like a shield from various natural disasters including cyclone, Aila and tsunami. Protesting against the government’s initiative of setting up a coal based power plant in Rampal, UNESCO and various other international environmental forums are repeatedly urging Bangladesh government to stop such destructive move. But paying no heed to those calls, the government is showing maximum stubbornness to continue its suicidal move of establishing coal based power plant in Rampal.

So without considering the forums, which are taking to the street for preserving the Sundarbans, I am urging the government to consider the justifiable demand and to move back from its plan to establish proposed coal-fired thermal power plant in the Sundarbans adjacent area. Bangladesh Jamaat-e-Islami will continue to extend its moral support to those quarters both from home and abroad who are undertaking justified programs to support this rational cause.