Video on Rampal protest before Indian envoy goes viral
A video of a demonstration before the Indian high commissioner to Bangladesh against the proposed Rampal power plant project has gone viral on the popular social media Facebook.
In the video, a group of youths are seen to stage the demonstration on Dhaka University campus when Indian High Commissioner to Dhaka Harsh Vardhan Shringla went there to attend a programme yesterday afternoon.
Indian High Commission and DU Faculty of Fine Arts jointly organised the programme on award giving ceremony of an art competition titled ‘India @ Bangladesh’ at Zainul Gallery of the faculty.
The 45-second long video shows youths are forming a human chain on both sides of the road holding placards and chanting slogans against the Rampal power plant project when the Indian high commissioner entered the premises of Faculty of Fine Arts.
Some were also seen holding placards in protest of killings of Bangladeshi national at the borders by Indian Border Security Force (BSF).
The issue has become a much debated one since the proposal for the joint venture project between Bangladesh and India was made. People from all walks of life have been vocal against the construction of the coal-based power plant near the Sundarbans endangering the ecosystem and wildlife in its proximity.
The site of the 1,320-megawatt coal-based power plant is located just 14 kilometres upstream of the Sundarbans Reserve Forest, the world's largest remaining mangrove forest and a UNESCO World Heritage Site.
India's largest coal power company National Thermal Power Corporation (NTPC) has formed a joint venture, BIFPLC, with Bangladesh Power Development Board (BPDB) on 50:50 share basis to develop the plant.
The proposed power plant will have two units of 660MW that will generate power for local consumption, as nearly 40 percent of the population does not have access to electricity, and is estimated to burn 4.72 million tonnes of imported coal a year.
Green activists are concerned the plant would lead to its environmental degradation from increased ship traffic, dredging, and air and water pollution.
However, the Bangladesh government as well as BIFPLC claimed the plant would not harm the Sundarbans as international standards were being followed properly.
The total cost of the project is estimated at $1.8 billion. BIFPLC will fund 30 percent of the project cost and the rest will come from the contractor in the form of loans. India's state-run Bharat Heavy Electricals Ltd will begin the construction of the project is expected to go into commercial production by July 2019.