Finance Minister AMA Muhith on Sunday said he does not care about the ultimatum issued by the National Committee to Protect Oil Gas Mineral Resources Power and Ports to cancel the Rampal power plant project by October 11. “I don’t care about their threat. The whole theory of ultimatum is wrong,” he told reporters after the Cabinet Purchase Committee meeting, which gave nod to a number of coal-fired power plant projects in the private sector.
Dhaka and New Delhi are jointly implementing the 1,320 MW Rampal power plant project at a site very close to Sundarbans, the world’s largest mangrove forest which UNESCO has declared as a world heritage.
Defending the government’s move for setting up the power plant in joint venture with India, Muhith said the government has no other least cost option for power generation other than using coal.
“After gas, coal is the least cost option for power generation,” he said adding that “whatever Dr. Anu Muhammad says, we’ve to go for coal-fired power generation because of its cheaper cost.”
The Finance Minister also claimed that the proposed power plant at Rampal will not harm the Sundarbans. The government has already conducted a feasibility study on the project and its finding was posted on the website, he said.
He said: “If we want development, we’ve to depend on coal-fired electricity.”
Criticizing the National Committee for its anti-Rampal movement, Muhith said that earlier this committee was against extraction of coal from the mine. “Now they are opposing the coal-fired power plant.”
He informed that the Power Ministry had sat with the environmentalists to discuss the Rampal project and many of their suggestions were accepted.
The Finance Minister said he has again advised the Power Ministry to sit with the National Committee leaders although they are very rigid in their stance.
Mitigation measures have been taken to minimize the pollution from coal dust and sulphur emission from the power plant.