1,320-megawatt Rampal power plant, a joint India-Bangladesh project, may destroy Sundarbans forest, protesters say
Anadolu Agency | 26.01.2017 | DHAKA, Bangladesh:
Police fired tear gas and rubber bullets at over 100 people in the capital Dhaka on Thursday who were protesting against plans to build a coal-fueled power plant that they believe would end up destroying a key mangrove forest.
The 1,320-megawatt Rampal power plant — a joint India-Bangladesh project — is expected to be built near the mangrove forest, Sundarbans, in southwest Bangladesh.
Protesters had gathered under the umbrella of the national committee to protect oil, gas, mineral resources, power and port.
Anu Mohammad, a committee secretary, told Anadolu Agency the protest had been peaceful before police began using their harsh tactics. “It was a very peaceful protest program, people were singing and we were in non-violent stand from our ethical stand point.
“But the way they [police] attacked them, it shows government’s weaknesses and they have no scope to justify this.”
Police had fired tear gas and rubber bullets in efforts to confine the protesters inside the University of Dhaka campus and stop them from marching towards Shahabagh area.
Police officer Abu Bakar Siddiki said: “We haven’t counted the number of tear gas shells charged.”
They also used a water cannon to disperse the protesters.
Two protesters were detained and kept at the police station until afternoon.
Environmentalists believe the proposed plant would be a significant threat to the Sundarbans. They fear the destruction of the Sunderbans, which is considered as the one of the world’s largest mangrove forest, would expose nearly 50 million people to natural calamities.
According to the Daily Star, “Despite serious environment concerns and widespread protest, Bangladesh government has a clear statement regarding Rampal power plant – ‘it will be done, no matter what’.”
Environmental concerns over the harm to the mangroves have also been issued by UNESCO, the daily added.