River Commission asks DCs to evict 3 power plants

Ershad Kamol | Published: 00:32, Sep 28,2020


The National River Conservation Commission chairman Md Muzibur Rahman Howlader on Sunday ordered the deputy commissioners of Mymensingh, Jamalpur and Barguna to evict three private power plants that are being built illegally, encroaching on land of the Brahmaputra and Payra rivers.

The Muzibur Rahman Howlader ordered the deputy commissioners to immediately evict the 307MW coal-fired Barisal Electricity Company Limited at Taltoli in Barguna for it is being built on the river Payra in a land the company had grabbed.

The 50MW solar-based power plant at Sutiakhali in Mymensingh and the 115MW HFO-fired United Jamalpur Power Ltd in Jamalpur sadar are being developed grabbing the land of the river Brahmaputra, he said.

The commission chairman in an online conference ordered the DCs to cancel land acquisition in favour of the power plant, if they had issued any.

The commission chairman also asked them to take measures for cancelling the record of rights if such documents had been issued claiming the river land as private properties.

‘If they don’t evict those power plants that are being developed illegally on the rivers, the commission may file cases against the private companies with the High Court for occupying river land,’ Howlader told New Age following the webinar with the divisional commissioners, deputy commissioners of 64 districts.

Howlader said that the commission visited the sites and found that the power plants were being developed by the private companies or the joint venture companies after grabbing the land of the Brahmaputra and Payra rivers in violation of several laws of the land.

‘The Supreme Court also ordered that the government  under any circumstances cannot lease out river land to anybody,’ he added.

A joint venture involving China-based Power China and local ISO Tech Electrification Company Limited is developing Barisal Electricity Company Limited in Barguna, HDFC Sinpower Ltd, a joint venture involving three companies from Bangladesh, Singapore, and Malaysia is developing the solar-based power plant in Mymensingh.

The United Jamalpur Power Ltd is an enterprise of the local United Enterprises & Co Ltd.

These companies started development work after getting permission from the power development board.

The commission chairman Muzibur Rahman Howlader said that the commission visited all the sites in different months and prepared separate reports giving detailed pictures of how these plants are being built by grabbing river land, foreshore, floodplain and coastal forest area at Taltoli.

‘In the reports, we asked the deputy commissioners to cancel land lease agreement against the power plants. We also gave copies of the reports to the prime minister’s office, cabinet division and power division,’ Howlader claimed.

Mymensingh DC Md Mizanur Rahman, Jamalpur DC Mohammad Enamul Haque and Barguna DC  Mustain Billah said that they would take further actions after getting the resolutions of the Sunday meeting from the commission.

‘We have already formed a committee to give a report of the United Group’s power plant after getting the river commission’s previous instruction,’ Enamul said.

Mustain said that he had ordered AC land of Taltoli not lease out land for the Barishal Power plant and had earlier evicted a jetty developed by the company.

ISO Tech managing director Md Moinul Alam said that the company was developing the plant on its purchased land after getting site clearance as per a no objection certificate issued by the government.

United group and HDFC could not be reached for comments.

Power division secretary Sultan Ahmed said that the division would take a decision after talking to the river commission and the private companies.

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