Energy sector victim of wrong policies, corruption
The country's energy sector must come out of the shadows of wrong policies and corruption, speakers said at the Bapa-BEN (Bangladesh Poribesh Andolon and Bangladesh Environment Network) conference yesterday.
The speakers also criticised the government for its policymaking blunders, such as the decision to base much of the energy sector on coal, at a time when the rest of the world is moving away from it.
The two-day annual conference kicked off at Stanford University campus at the capital's Siddheshwari, with the theme "Energy, Climate Change and Sustainable Development".
It was attended by representatives from various political parties, including ruling Awami League, BNP, Ganasamhati Andolon and Communist Party of Bangladesh (CPB).
During his speech, Junaid Saki, chief coordinator of Gansamhati Anodolon, said the whole world is looking for ways to divert their energy sector from coal, whereas Bangladesh adopted a policy where 70 percent of energy is based on coal-fired power production.
He also said the government is trying to hang on to power by allowing environmentally harmful coal power-plants in Rampal, neglecting the needs of the region and the Sundarbans. Ruhin Hossain Prince, presidium member of CPB, emphasised on ensuring 100 percent ownership of the country's resources.
"The energy policy must think about its social and environmental implications. Population density and environment of the country must be considered," he added.
Meanwhile, Delwar Hossen, AL's forest and environment affairs secretary, said the government's energy policy does not only reflect energy but also issues of national security.
During her speech, Rizwana Hasan, eminent environment lawyer and chief executive of Bangladesh Environmental Lawyers Association, said that environmental activists in the country are facing constant threats and false lawsuits whenever they raise questions or organise protests against so-called development projects.
"The development is being imposed on us. This development is not for the people," she said, adding that it is the people who bear the cost for these projects, but they are the ones who remain ignored.