Environmentalists and locals formed a human chain in Habiganj district town yesterday demanding immediate steps to move the proposed coal-based power plant under Rampal project from near the Sundarbans to save the biggest mangrove forest in the world.
Cross section of people including students, professionals and representatives from different non-governmental organisations joined the human chain jointly organised by Bangladesh Poribesh Andolon (BAPA)'s Habiganj unit and Khowai River Waterkeeper.
About ten lakh people will lose their livelihood due to the impact of the proposed power plant, Tofazzal Sohel, Habiganj chapter secretary of BAPA, said in his keynote presented at a rally on the Habiganj Town Hall premises after the human chain.
He urged the government to refrain from implementing this coal-based thermal power plant to save the Sundarbans, the biggest mangrove forest in the world, as well as the livelihood of people of the areas.
"The Sundarbans protects the people living in the coastal regions of Bangladesh and India and so, any plan affecting them should not be implemented,” said Prof Ikramul Wadud, president of BAPA's Habiganj unit, who presided over the programme.
Sharif Jamil, a member of the Committee to Protect the Sundarbans and joint secretary of BAPA, said the eco-sensitive mangrove forest, also a world heritage site, is already facing danger due to some profit-driven commercial and industrial activities.
At a time when the coastal regions of the country are already under threat because of climate change, the implementation of coal-based projects like the Rampal power plant would only add to the risks, he added.
In 2009, Bangladesh and India signed a deal to set up two power plants under Rampal project, nine kilometres away from the Sundarbans. A total of 1,834 acres of land has already been acquired for the power plants with a capacity to produce 1,320 MW of electricity.