Published:  12:47 AM, 31 December 2017

Govt to be responsible if Rampal plant destroys the Sundarbans

Say green activists, wait for open debate on it

The Sundarbans will be ruined due to Rampal Power Plant implementation and then, the current government would be held responsible for the immense loss, said speakers of National Committee to Protect Sundarbans alleging though the government was requested to arrange an open debate on the issue, none yet to respond.

The committee leaders said: "A total of 13 assessment reports by renowned experts and scientists on the project have been handed over to the government. The silence from government side is synonymous to the assertion of those report, assert total destruction of the mangrove forest."

They sought immediate suspension of 320 projects nearby the Sundarbans including the coal-based Rampal Power Plant. The activists made the call from a press conference at Dhaka Reporters Unity yesterday.

"The Unesco report has been misinterpreted making people confused. The report of Unesco suggested halting any industrial establishment nearby the Sundarbans. But we have witnessed that the government approved some 320 projects in those areas," said the committee convener Sultana Kamal.

Dhaka University Prof Badrul Imam at the press conference said they were not anti-government, rather pointing out the flaws in the policies. "The project implementation rate assures the total destruction of the forest. If the current government remains in power then, there would be people to blame the current Awami government," said the professor.      

Economist Nazrul Islam, citing the example of Buriganga pollution, said: "The industries will certainly pollute the Pasur River, the vein of the mangrove forest."

The adverse effects of Rampal would be visible in six months, said another Dhaka University Prof Abdul Aziz adding, "However, then nothing would remain in hand to tackle." He suggested shifting the power plant to other place of the country. The committee member Zamil Sharif, meanwhile, shed light on the funding of the project.

"Though India is financing 15percent, they will be main stakeholder with 50percent share. Bangladesh not only environmentally but also financially being the ultimate looser from the outcome of Rampal," he said. The committee general secretary put forward a five-point demand at the press conference including immediate suspension of the Rampal Project.

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