12:00 AM, November 23, 2012 / LAST MODIFIED: 12:00 AM, November 23, 2012

Open pit mining of Phulbari coal

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A conscious citizen, Dhaka

Most English dailies on November 10th reported on government's final go-ahead to Asia Energy Corporation, for open pit mining of coal, and having a mine mouth power plant at the location. After years of arguments, discussions and deliberations, we finally see a concrete decision being taken. I hope it is acted upon, and not left to gather dust in some bureaucratic labyrinth! It is vital that there is biparty agreement and understanding on this important national issue, so that the project can progress without any hindrance, in our overall national interest. Already, a lot of time and effort have been spent on this matter. Admittedly, many farms and rural households and people living in the area will be uprooted and need resettlement. This has to be done with compassion, sincerity, patience and understanding of the plight of the affected people. This is as important as the main project and needs to be taken up with due importance! Our political parties should also restrain from a contentious issue out of it. The fact remains that we may have to pay a social and human price for this endeavour; but this has to be minimised. All interested NGOs should be mobilized and supported by the authorities concerned in carrying out this humanitarian ask, of resettling the affected people. Let us all hope that we will succeed in this important venture.

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