Bangladesh Nationalist Party secretary general Mirza Fakhrul Islam Alamgir on Monday said they will mobilise public opinion against the installation of a coal-fired power plant at Rampal near the Sunderbans.
‘I had been in Khulna recently where I found people reluctant about waging a movement over the Rampal issue. We think public opinion needs to be mobilised to encourage them to take to the streets,’ he said.
Speaking at a roundtable discussion, the BNP leader further said, ‘It’s the duty of all to be out there in field to mobilise public opinion. Before waging a movement, we must create public opinion and sensitise those who will be affected by it. It’s now very crucial.’
Association of engineers, Bangladesh, a pro-BNP platform, organised the discussion titled ‘Rampal power plant: Triple jeopardy-technical, economic and environment’ at the institution of engineers in the capital.
AEB acting president ANH Akhter Hossain presented the keynote paper at the programme.
Mentioning that people usually take to the streets to put up resistance against any move when they get convinced that their interest will be harmed by it, Fakhrul focused on distributing leaflets among people to make them aware of the adverse effects of the Rampal power plants on the country’s economy and environment and the Sunderbans.
About their party’s position against Rampal power plant, he said, ‘We’re opposing the Rampal power plant as it’ll destroy our Sunderbans and put our national existence at stake. We never compromise with the interests of people and our country, and we won’t’ allow anyone to do it either.’
Claiming that their party have been working in favour of people, he said, ‘We might have some failures, but we don’t have the lack of sincerity to protect people’s interests. We’ll face the country’s crisis together with people, and BNP will resist any anti-people project.’
Dhaka University Professor Asif Nazrul said the government still could not give any satisfactory answer why a power plant is being implemented at Rampal within the 14 km of Sunderbans in Bangladesh while there is a restriction on implementing such a project within 25 km of the forest in India.
He questioned why India cancelled four such projects in June last if there is no bad effect of coal-fired power plant.
Mentioning that there is an effort to brand as anti-Indians those who speak against Rampal power plant, he said, ‘If Sultana Kamal, Anu Muhammad, Khushi Kabir, MM Akash are anti-Indians, it should be considered by every citizen, except a few hundred people of this government of Bangladesh are anti-Indians.’
Asif said Rampal power plant will not only affect Bangladesh’s environment, economy, but also the country’s existence as the Sundarbans protects the nation from disasters like a natural shield.
He urged BNP to play a courageous role in resisting the Rampal power plant in the country’s interest. ‘I want to request BNP not to get involved in any competition to be the collaborator of India. Instated, raise your voice for people.’
Ganashasthaya Kendra founder Zafrullah Chowdhury urged the prime minister either to relocate the Rampal power plant to Chittagong region or go for alternative sources of power generation.
He suggested that the government can invest in hydroelectric project in Bhutan and get nearly 50,000 mw power from there.
Zafrullah also suggested BNP chairperson Khaleda Zia to be more active in politics at day time instead of night and hold a rally at Rampal in the interest of people.
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