Over 70 NGOs and green groups from home and abroad have appealed to the Export-Import Bank of India to abandon its plans to finance the construction of the Rampal coal power plant in Bangladesh and save the Sundarbans wetlands from destruction.
A global coalition, including BankTrack, Greenpeace International, Rainforest Action Network, and Indian and Bangladeshi green groups, made this appeal yesterday to save tigers.
The open letter of the coalition has called upon Exim Bank of India to live up to its own promise to "recognise its obligations as a citizen of the world" that acts "with due regard to public interest" and therefore not to support the destructive Rampal coal plant.
The Exim Bank of India currently intends to provide a $ 1.6 billion loan to the sponsor of the project, the Bangladesh-India Friendship Power Company Ltd, a joint venture between the Indian and Bangladeshi state-owned electricity providers.
The 1,320 megawatt Rampal power plant, already under construction, is located just 14 kilometres from the edge of the Sundarbans Reserve Forest, a Unesco World Heritage area.
Critics of the project point out the potential for widespread contamination of the extraordinarily rich ecosystem of the Sundarbans, which would risk wiping out the endangered Bengal tigers, of which only around 100 tigers remain in the forest, as well as affecting numerous other species.
Sharif Jamil, founding member of National Committee for Saving the Sundarbans and joint secretary of Bangladesh Poribesh Andolon (Bapa), a coalition of Bangladeshi environmental organisations, expressed his concerns on the climate impact of the project: