Civic forum gearing up for Rampal march

A civic forum on Tuesday said it would announce harsher programmes if the government does not take steps to relocate the coal-based Rampal Power Plant site from Bagerhat in the interest of protecting the Sundarbans.

The national committee to protect oil, gas and mineral resources and power and ports issued the warning from a press conference at Mukti Bhaban in the capital

“The Sundarbans is a gift of nature. We cannot allow it to be destroyed in any way. If the government does not pay heed to our demand, we will come up with harsher programmes in the coming days,” said the committee’s convener Sheikh M Shahidullah.

The committee held the press conference ahead of its fresh road march to the Sundarbans, scheduled to start from the capital on 10 March.

It is going to launch the road march to press home its demand of cancellation of the coal-based power project in Rampal. The march will commence at 10am from in front of Jatiya Press Club on 10 March, and is expected to end through holding a rally at Katakhali circle in Bagerhat on 13 March.

The 1,320 MW Rampal Power Plant site is located only 14 kilometers away from the world’s largest mangrove forest, and just 4 kilometres outside the zone denoted as its ecologically-critical area.

Environmentalists claim that the project will cause havoc to the forest.

Committee member secretary of Prof Anu Mohammad said any project that causes harm to the country is not a development one and the Sundarbans-destroying-Rampal project is also not a development project.

International community has already voiced concerns over implementation of the Rampal power project, he said, "but our own government appears adamant not to change its decision, is unacceptable".

Committee members Prof Akmal Hossain, Prof Tanzim Uddin Khan, Tipu Biswas, Ruhin Hossain Price and Bazlur Rashid Feroz were, among others, present at the press conference.