Credible inquiry into Payra power plant clash a must

Published: 00:00, Jun 23,2019


TWO cases were filed against about 600 people unnamed on Thursday in connection with Tuesday’s attack on the China-Bangladesh 1320MW thermal power plant project at Payra in Patuakhali during a clash that left one Chinese electrician dead. The clash, as New Age reported on Saturday, followed the protests against an ‘accidental’ death of a Bangladeshi worker. The power plant management filed the cases — one over the death of the Chinese electrician and the other for looting, damaging and attacking the project property. The police arrested four young people at the neighbourhood for looting valuables from the project site and a judicial magistrate’s court sent all the four to jail custody on Friday. Besides this, 11 others who fled the project site were arrested at places in Dhaka.

On June 18, Bangladeshi workers began holding protests against what they termed a poor working and living condition and lack of workplace safety in the project site afte ran ‘accidental’ death of a Bangladeshi worker. The protest turned violent later in the day, which left the Chinese electrician dead inside the project area. Border Guard Bangladesh personnel have since then been on patrol in and around the site in addition to the deployment of more than 800 police personnel, creating a fearful situation. Such a situation should not continue to prevail as the work needs to be done. The death of a Chinese electrician has also made it a sensitive issue. Although, as Patuakhali deputy commissioner say, they are trying to win back confidence of the workers, both Bangladeshi and Chinese, no one is certain workers would begin their work. The project, a joint venture between Chinese CMC and Bangladesh’s state-owned North-West Power Generation Company, has, thus, plunged into an uncertainty. An internal project meeting is reported have held which was told that facilities for Bangladeshi workers were comparatively worse than those for the Chinese workers. But all this may end in fiasco unless an impartial investigation is initiated and filing cases against 600 unnamed people might prolong the fearful situation. The authorities should realise that the is sensitive and needs to be resolved soon and impartially. Issues should proceed in the right direction.

It is, thus, imperative that the authorities concerned should order a competent and credible investigation of the incidents at the thermal power plant project and have the responsible individuals prosecuted efficiently and punished exemplarily for the sake of restoring order and discipline and ensuring an enabling environment at the site for completion of the project in question.

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