South Asians for Human Rights

Promoting Democracy, Upholding Human Rights

A regional human rights organisation expressed its deep concern on Sunday over the government’s uncompromising stance to proceed with the construction of the Rampal power plant, situated close to Sundarbans, a Ramsar and World Heritage Site.

The group, South Asians for Human Rights (SAHR), headquartered in Colombo, Sri Lanka, expressed its concern in a statement issued on September 30, jointly signed by SAHR Chairperson Hina Jilani and Co-Chairperson Dr. Nimalka Fernando.

The organisation said that their probe found the 1,320MW Rampal coal-fired power plant project will leave an ‘irreparable damage’ to the world’s largest mangrove forest.

SAHR expressed its concern that such projects of regional cooperation should not violate the fundamental rights of the people and must adhere to the laws and standards of all countries involved.

The project that will be implemented by the Bangladesh government in collaboration with National Thermal Power Corporation of India (NTPC), is geographically located only 14 KM away from the edge of Sundarbans.

While, the Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA) Guide Manual prepared by the Indian Ministry of Environment and Forests, states that there can be no preserved forest, animal sanctuary or bio-diverse forest within 25 KM of such a plant, the statement added.

Besides, SAHR welcomes the Sri Lankan Government’s assurance to the Supreme Court about withdrawing a 500MW coal power plant project in Sampur, Trincomalee District, North East, with the collaboration of NTPC. The withdrawal came a decade after Sri Lanka signed a joint venture with India and following strong opposition by environmentalist groups, land rights activists and affected local community.

Updated On: 03 Oct 2016