National Committee to Protect Oil, Gas, Mineral Resources, Power and Ports on Thursday announced fresh programmes, including countrywide campaign and an international convention on the Sunderbans, protesting against controversial Rampal coal-based power plant near the world’s largest mangrove forest and heritage site.
At a rally participated by coastal people at Hadis Park in Khulna city, committee’s member secretary Anu Muhammad also threatened to go for tougher agitations to intense pressure on the government adamant to implement the hazardous project despite worldwide protests.
The committee would organise campaign against Rampal power plant across the coastal belt till June 25, a 100km human chain from
Shyamnagar to Sharankhola on July 25 and an international convention on the Sunderbans on September 9 with local and foreign green campaigners, experts and politicians, he said.
‘If the government does not cancel the decision, the committee would go for tougher movement, including countrywide general strike,’ Anu announced.
Several thousand anti-Rampal campaigners from coastal districts of Khulna, Bagerhat, Satkhira, Jessore, Pirojpur, Barguna and Barisal joined the rally with banners and festoons reading their demands to scrap Rampal power project and to save the Sunderbans.
Before the rally, Khulna unit of Udichi Shilpigoshthi performed people’s songs urging to protect the nature and the Sunderbans.
Speakers at the rally said that the coastal people would not accept any hazardous power plant at the cost of the Sunderbans.
They said that the power plants in Khulna produce 300MW electricity a day against a demand of 200MW, but Khulna people experienced frequent power outages as all the power generated in the area were supplied to the national grid.
They alleged that the government was lying about the project as none of the modern technology could to save the Sunderbans from being destructed by such a coal-based power plant.
The government would not be able to stop people’s voice threatening them or by committing violence against them, they warned.
Chaired by Manoj Das, Khulna unit president of the Communist Party of Bangladesh, the rally was addressed, among others, by CPB central leader Ruhin Hossain Prince, Socialist Party of Bangladesh central member Bazlur Rashid Firoz, Gana Sanghati Andolan chief coordinator Zonayed Saki, Dhaka University teacher Tanzim Uddin Khan, Revolutionary Workers’ Party central leader Banhi Shikha, Socialist Party of Bangladesh (Marxist) leader Suvrangshu Chakrabharty and leaders of Samajtantrik Mazdur Party, United Communist League and Ganamukti Union.
The committee’s Khulna unit convener SA Rashid and member secretary Mostafa Khalid Khasru conducted the rally.
A meeting of the politburo of the Workers Party of Bangladesh, a component of the Awami League-led ruling alliance, on Thursday urged the government to relocate the Rampal project, said a release issued by the party.
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