BIWTA seeks shipping ministry’s permission to demolish AL MP’s power plant on Turag

Ershad Kamol | Published: 00:00, Mar 10,2019 | Updated: 00:47, Mar 10,2019


A power plant of ruling Awami League’s lawmaker Aslamul Haque encroaches on the confluence of the River Buriganga and the River Turag at Washpur. The photo was taken recently. — New Age photo

Bangladesh Inland Water Transport Authority has sought the shipping ministry’s permission to demolish ruling Awami League MP Md Aslamul Haque’s power plant on the Turag River.
BIWTA on Thursday demolished 60 structures, owned by individuals and real estate companies and boundary of some buildings on the Turag at Washpur, Keraniganj.
But the power plant of Aslam, MP, from Dhaka 14 was left untouched.
The ruling party MP built a part of his plant on the Turag- Buriganga confluence at Washpur, Keraniganj.
His firm CLC Power Company Limited owns the power plant.
‘A part of the power plant had been built on the Turag-Buriganga confluence,’ BIWTA Dhaka port officer AKM Arif Uddin told New Age Saturday.
State minister for shipping Khalid Mhmud Chowdhury said he would take a decision about the issue after determining the area of the river that had been grabbed to set up the power plant and its contribution to the national grid.
Corporate promotional video of Aslam’s Maisha Group shows his power plant at Washpur contributes 108 megawatt of power to the national grid.
According to the video Aslam’s Maisha Group would build two more power plants at the same place.
It says that Aslam’s Dhaka North Power Utility Company Limited and Dhaka West Power Limited would build the power plants.
According to the Power Development Board’s records the Maisha Group had plans to build the two unsolicited power plants at Gabtoli in 2011.
The PDB records also show that in 2016 the Maisha Group renewed the contracts on the plea that the two power plants would be built at Washpur.
Locals said that Aslam forcibly grabbed lands of some individuals and the Turag for setting up three power plants.
The power plant built on the Buriganga-Turag confluence intensified sedimentation almost blocking the channels of both the rivers, said Bangladesh Paribesh Andolan joint secretary Iqbal Habib.
‘The power plant makes no significant contribution there was no need to evaluate its contribution as the minister said, ’ Habib told New Age.
If the power plant is not demolished it would be injustice to those whose buildings had been dismantled including Haji Selim, MP, he said.
‘The river must be restored,’ Habib said.

He also raised the question why BIWTA took no action when construction of the power plant began in 2011.
Bangladesh Environmental Lawyers Association chief executive Syeda Rizwana Hasan said, that the law must be enforced without any fear or favour.

On February 3, a High Court Division disqualified river grabbers from contesting elections or borrowing from banks.
Aslam said he took the clearance from BIWTA, shipping ministry’s taskforce for saving rivers and the Department of Environment for setting up three power plants at Wahspur.

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