Local and international rights activists on Sunday demanded a comprehensive and scientific Environmental Impact Assessment on the country’s 1,320 megawatt Rampal coal-based power plant.
They also said, at a press conference, that if the EIA found the project to be harmful to the Sundarbans it must be cancelled and relocated to another site.
The conference was organised by ‘South Asians for Human Rights’ at the National Press Club on its fact-finding mission to Rampal from April 5 to April 8, to assess the likely adverse effects of the bilateral project on an international heritage site.
SAHR is a regional network of human rights defenders from Afghanistan, Bangladesh, India, Maldives, Nepal, Pakistan and Sri Lanka.
While presenting the fact findings, Waterkeeper Alliance from Bangladesh council member Sharif Jamil said due process was not followed in land acquisition and relocation, while compensation to land owners was inadequate.
The current EIA, which had been conducted by a government-owned organisation and accepted in 2013, was faulty for its use of backdated information and no assessment on damage from the coal, he said.
The department of environment approved the EIA conditionally by giving 59 specific points to be addressed, which would increase the production cost.
The mission also found land-filling in the area that could threaten the ecosystem of nearby rivers; dolphins were no longer visible on River Passur, while locals activists told them they were being harassed by influential quarters with false cases and threats.
The mission was concerned that the proposed power plant would lead to considerable loss of livelihoods, scarcity of food and drinking water, health hazard, damage to aquatic biodiversity, air pollution and noise pollution.
Addressing as chairperson, SAHR Bangladesh bureau member Sultana Kamal said if the result of EIA shows that the plant will be harmful to the environment then the government will have to relocate the project site.
Sundarbans is protecting Bangladesh from different natural disasters and it is people’s moral and human responsibility to protect it, she said.
source : http://en.gmw.cn/newspaper/2015-04/13/content_105897204.htm