Long march planned against Rampal project

The National Committee to Protect Oil, Gas and Mineral Resources and Power and Ports plans to stage a long march towards Dhaka demanding cancellation of the 1,320 MW coal-fired Rampal Power Plant project adjacent to the Sundarbans, reports news agency UNB.

Alongside its countrywide programme, the committee considers taking regional programmes with the people of six districts surrounding the Sundarbans to force the government to back off from implementing the thermal power plant in Bagerhat.

Committee member secretary Prof Anu Mohammad on Friday came up with the disclosure while talking to reporters in Bagerhat after joining a meeting of the committee’s regional representatives.

“This time there’ll be a long march towards Dhaka in addition to a programme to lay a siege the Prime Minister’s Office. Besides, the government will be forced to cancel the power plant project by taking various harsh programmes like hartal, sit-in and rallies,” he said.

He hinted that the long march towards Dhaka from different districts and upazilas will be staged in September next.

Anu Mohammad said at the rally following the long march towards Sundarbans (staged 10-13 March last), the government was given an ultimatum to scrap the project by 15 May, but the government did not pay heed to their demand.

“There’ll be two programmes demanding cancellation of the Rampal Power Plant project from now. One will be regional with the people of six districts surrounding the Sundarbans and another will be nationwide one,” he said.

The committee will finalise the fresh programmes on 17 May and announce the programmes on 20 May, he added.

He said the public support behind their movement is on the rise at both home and abroad. People do not want coal-based power plant destroying the Sundarbans, one of the world’s heritage sites, he added.

The government is reluctant about protecting the Sundarbans, the committee member secretary alleged adding that ruling party men are behind the recent fire incidents in the mangrove forest.