Transparency International Bangladesh has expressed grave concern over the project for construction of a 307MW coal-fired power plant, less than a kilometre off the Tengragiri reserve forest in Borguna, before obtaining environmental clearance.
TIB executive director Iftekharuzzaman, in a release issued on Thursday, urged the government to scrap the risky project that was threatening environment and biodiversity of the forest, popularly known as the second Sunderbans.
Referring to news published on daily newspaper, Iftekharuzzaman said that the state-run Power Development Board had already signed a 25-year power purchase agreement with local firm ISOTECH-led consortium without any clearance from Department of Environment which was alarming and violation of Environment Protection Act- 1997.
He also mentioned that the environment act also banned construction of any Red Category installation, like a coal-fired power plant, in 10 kilometres area from the periphery of a reserve forest.
TIB noticed that the process of the project implementation lacked transparency, accountability and coordination.
In October 2010, Tengragiri was declared a sanctuary of wild animals by the Environment and Forest Ministry. The forest has around 40 animal species and different kinds of plants.
The forest was once a part of the Sunderbans and was declared a reserve forest in 1960. The forest has been playing a vital role in protecting coastal people in large area from cyclones and tidal surges.
Despite severe criticism at home and abroad, a 50/50 joint venture of the power board and India’s National Thermal Power Corporation is also carrying out implementation of a 1,320MW coal-fired power plant at Rampal in Bagerhat, some 14 kilometres off the Sunderbans.
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