Although United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (Unesco) recommended shutting down Rampal project, the government is not complying with the order. Rather they are propagating that Unesco lifted their complaint from the coal-based power plant, said environmental activists.
The allegation came from a rally organized by 57 environmental organizations including National Committee to Protect Sundarbans and Bangladesh Poribesh Andolon (BAPA). The rally was held in front of the National Museum yesterday. The Sundarbans was inscribed on the World heritage List in 1997 in consideration of its outstanding universal value as a unique ecosystem.
The rally put forward four demands including cancellation of Rampal project and other industrial establishments adjacent to the mangrove forest. If the greens' demands go unheard, terming the incumbent government 'anti-Sundarbans', they will launch massive protest. Other two demands are-implanting the research findings found by the national committee on the Sundarbans and evicting the 320 industrial establishments constructed recently nearby the forest.
Citing Bangabandhu's speech, former Adviser of Caretaker Government Rasheda K Chowdhury said: "We hope daughter of Bangabandhu Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina would not initiate anything damaging to the forest." Expressing concern over the potential damages to the mangrove forest, Unesco in September 2016 requested the government to conduct a revised Environment Impact Assessment (EIA) before going ahead with the coal-based Rampal power plant.
The 21-member World Heritage Committee also spared the Sundarbans from being relegated to the list of "World Heritage in Danger". It has decided on whether a cultural or natural site should be inscribed on the World Heritage List, monitors the state of conservation of the inscribed heritage sites, and can place a site on the World Heritage in Danger if found that the site is not being properly managed by the concerned State.
"While India and China are phasing out coal-based plants, Bangladesh is importing the dust," said BAPA joint general secretary Sharif Jamil adding, "According to India's High Court observation, coal at power plant does more harm than nuclear plant."