People of Gondamara in Banshkhali will support installation of a coal-based power plant there only if the plant does not harm the environment, said speakers at a view exchange meeting yesterday.
"If the plant does 20 percent harm but 80 percent good for people, then we want the power plant. But if it's the opposite, we do not want it," said Md Redoanul Haque, a member of Gondamara Union Parishad.
The Power Division and the upazila administration jointly organised the meeting with the local community at Banshkhali in Chittagong.
Speaking there, local lawmaker Mostafizur Rahman claimed the plant, if set up, would significantly improve the economic condition of the people in the area.
"After the plant is set up, Banshkhali would go ahead of all other upazilas of Chittagong district."
On April 4, four people were killed and 30 others injured in a clash between law enforcers and locals in Gondamara union in Banshkhali upazila of Chittagong over installation of the coal-based power plant.
Yesterday, the Awami League MP said, "The four were killed in firing by criminals, not by the police.
"A vested quarter was demanding removal of the Banshkhali upazila nirbahi officer (UNO) and the officer-in-charge of the local police station. But it will only encourage the criminals."
It was the prime minister who proposed installation of the power plant at Gondamara, Mostafizur claimed. "I would have opposed the proposal if the plant had left any adverse impact on environment."
Additional Secretary Ahmed Kaikawsar of the Power Division said the April 4 incident occurred because "misleading information" about the power plant had been spread.
"Three paisas from the price of each unit of electricity would be kept for development of the local people. About Tk 34-35 crore would come this way every year," he added.
Director General Mohammad Hossain of the Power Cell of the power, energy and mineral resources ministry said though S Alam Group would set up the power plant, the government will constantly monitor it.
"The plant would be set up using all modern technologies ... All steps would be taken to rehabilitate and compensate the locals who would lose their land or houses," he said.
Arifullah, chairman of Gondamara UP, stressed the need for holding more such meetings to take opinions of the locals on installation of the plant.
Chittagong's Additional Deputy Commissioner Abdul Jalil, Banshkhali UNO Md Shamsuzzaman and Upazila Parishad Chairman Zahirul Islam, among others, spoke at the programme.