Prime Minister’s Advisor Dr Tawfiq-e-Elahi Chowdhury on Wednesday voiced the government’s determination to move with the controversial 1320 MW coal-fired Rampal power plant project despite opposition from environmentalists and different political parties.
Rejecting an idea that neighbouring India has disallowed a similar project in their part of Sundarbans on environmental ground, he said: “This is our project within Bangladesh territory. We’ll move ahead with it. What India has done with their project, we don’t care.”
Power Secretary Monwar Islam informed that foundation stone of the Rampal power project will be laid on October 22 this year.
Dr. Tawfiq Elahi was addressing a press conference at Bidyut Bhaban in the city on the Rampal power plant project which coincides with the anti-Rampal project long-march now being launched by The National Committee to Protect Oil-Gas-Mineral Resources-Power and Ports.
The five-day march started on Tuesday (Sept 24) from National Press Club in Dhaka and will end on Saturday (Sept 28) in Rampal of Bagerhat in Khulna through a mass-rally there.
The Power and Energy Ministry’s top functionaries claimed that the proposed power plant project, now being implemented by Dhaka and New Delhi under a joint venture agreement, will be fully environmental risk-free.
“In no way this will harm environment of Sundarbans as we have taken all mitigation measures. The project will use the latest ultra super critical technology,” said the PM’s advisor adding that it will use a 300 meter high chimney to emit carbon dioxide exhaust.
Criticizing the long-marchers, he said many people are opposing the project without any logic. “They do it just for emotion”.
Dr Tawfiq-e-Elahi said Rampal site was selected for the project considering many aspects including coal loading, navigation, population density and also balancing of power generation between south-west and north-east regions of the country.
He claimed that the project site is 14 km away from the Sundarbans- enough distance for keeping the forest safe from the power plant’s impact.
“I saw many power plants in USA in forests. Those do not harm forests as they use modern technology,” the PM’s advisor said.
Making a presentation on the proposed Rampal plant, the officials said that the plant will consume 10,000 metric tons of coal each day and those will be transported to the project site through lighters.
Power Secretary Monwar Islam said the coals will be carried through covered vessels and covered conveyer belt to avoid dust emission. He said the coals will be imported from four countries -- Indonesia, Australia, South Africa and Mozambique.