India has reduced Bangladesh into a market rapidly multiplying its investment returns utilising low labour cost and unabated destruction of environment and natural resources, said Sultana Kamal, convener, National Committee to Protect Sunderbans.
‘I remember with due respect the role India played during our liberation war by standing by Bangladesh,’ said Sultana Kamal as she read out the written statement at a press conference organised by the committee at Dhaka Reporters Unity Saturday.
‘But, at the same time, I should not hesitate to point it out that these days India views Bangladesh as a mere market to invest and generate profits,’ she said.
She alleged that India has been heavily investing in pollutant industries bearing dangerous consequences for nature and people of Bangladesh.
She accused India of playing ‘double standards’ by investing in coal-based thermal power plant in Bangladesh while phasing out such plants at home because of its harmful effect on environment and people.
The National Thermal Power Corporation Limited of India has suspended all coal-based power plants in India to reduce its carbon footprint, she said.
It even announced to invest Rs 25,000 crore for building the world’s largest solar park in Gujarat, she said.
But in Bangladesh, the NTPC was building coal-based thermal power plant near world’s largest single block mangrove forest through joint investments, she said.
The press conference was organised to demand cancellation of projects establishing heavy industries near Sunderbans, strategic environmental assessment of south-western region and implementation of instructions given by UNESCO to protect Sunderbans.
The NCPS alleged that construction of heavy industries continued threatening the Sunderbans though the country was yet to carry out strategic environmental assessment.
The national committee NCPS said that the UNESCO at its 43rd meeting clearly stated that Bangladesh must not permit heavy industries in the area without strategic environmental assessment.
The UNESCO in June gave Bangladesh a number of instructions to be implemented by February next year to prevent Sunderbans from being listed as world heritage in danger by it.
‘This is a matter of regret that Bangladesh cannot be trusted with caring for its own natural resources and even repeated warnings failed to keep it from harming its nature and people,’ said Sultana Kamal.
The national committee asked the government fulfil all UNESCO instructions for protecting Sunderabans.
The committee member secretary Abdul Matin, its member Ruhin Hossain Prince and Bangladesh Paribesh Andolan joint secretary Sharif Jamil also attended the press conference.