Green activists defy police to demonstrate against Rampal plant

Staff Correspondent | Published: 01:00, Jul 17,2017 | Updated: 01:27, Jul 17,2017

 
 

Police in front of the National Press Club in Dhaka on Sunday try to thwart a demonstration opposing Rampal coal-fired power plant near Sundarban. — Sanaul Haque

Green campaigners on Sunday demonstrated against the implementation of the controversial Rampal coal-fired power plant defying police obstructions.
Members of Dhaka metropolitan police initially blocked the campaigners from holding a pre-scheduled rally called by All for the Sunderbans, a civil society platform.
It also had planned a demonstration towards the Bangladesh-India Friendship Power Company headquarters at Poribagh in Dhaka demanding immediate cancellation of the power plant.
‘Following senior officials’ instructions, the police restricted use of the sound system and the march towards the BIFPC,’ said Abul Basher, in-charge of Babupura police outpost.
The police said that the organisers had not taken permission from the authorities for the installation of sound system and the rally.
The campaigners, however, held the rally despite police interference.
‘Blocking opposition voices proves that the people in the country have no democratic rights,’ said Rita Rahman, coordinator of the platform.
She remarked that the government was misinterpreting the outcome of the 41st session of the World Heritage Committee of UNESCO ahead of the plant’s implementation.
She added that the global organisation had rather put a bar on the implementation until a Strategic Environmental Assessment was completed.
She urged the people to stand strong as she suspected the government was adamant to implement the power plant.
Freedom fighter Josna Kazi and political activist Sheikh Faridul Islam, among others, were present.
After the rally, the demonstrators marched towards Central Shaheed Minar as the police blocked their way to the BIFPC.
Bangladesh and India are jointly implementing the 1320-megawatt power plant near the world’s largest mangrove forest amid widespread protests.
Local and foreign experts on environment and energy along with green campaigners for the last seven years have been campaigning against the plant fearing its adverse environmental impacts on the Sunderbans.

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