BNP Chairperson Khaleda Zia today urged the government to stop implementation of Rampal Power Plant near the Sundarbans while calling upon the people to raise voice against the move.
She also urged the government to scrap the project to save the world’s largest mangrove forest and keep the country a place of worth living.
“No citizen will accept it,” she told a press conference in Dhaka, arguing that the coal-fired power generation project is illogical and would be unprofitable.
The chief of BNP as well as the 20-party alliance raised the voice for the first time against the much-criticised 1,320MW power plant being implemented near the world heritage site, amid protests and demonstrations.
A citizens’ committee, comprised mainly of left-leaning political parties, to protect oil, gas and mineral resources has long been protesting the project, arguing that it would destroy the forest. BNP leaders have also started recently their voice against the move.
Khaleda urged the people to resist the move, saying: “When the whole world is concerned about the impacts of climate change, it’s a duty of all of us to resist the move.”
While other countries are moving away from coal-based power plants, she said Bangladesh’s decision to build the plant just on the edge of the biggest mangrove forest is hypocritical, irrational and non-lucrative.
She added that there are many alternatives – be it about sources of energy or places to set up a plant – but there is no alternative to the Sudnarbans. “It (Sundarbans) can’t be destroyed.”
She pointed out disadvantages of the project and urged the government to refrain from implementing the project for the sake of the country’s ecological balance and natural beauty.
The former prime minister said the project is anti-people and against the country’s overall interest.
She pointed out that Bangladesh would bear 15% of the project cost, India 15 % and the rest 70% would be provided through bank loans, and said that if the Indian company failed to repay its share of the loan, Bangladesh would have to take up the whole burden.
In another consideration, she said it is not even rational to take 50% profit by investing only 15% of the cost as the country is taking 100% of the environmental vulnerability.