Locals attacked the office of Asia Energy Corporation (Bangladesh) in Phulbari municipality area and blocked Dinajpur-Dhaka highway yesterday, protesting the visit of the company's chief executive officer (CEO).
Gary Lye, who arrived at Phulbari on November 24, was holding a meeting with Asia Energy officials and some local agents at the company's local office at noon.
Hearing the news, locals took out a procession in Phulbari town and blocked Dinajpur-Dhaka highway in Nimtola area under the municipality. Brandishing sticks, they marched towards the Asia Energy office at around 1:30pm, hurled brick chips at the office and vandalised two vehicles of the company. They also gave an ultimatum to CEO Gary Lye to leave Phulbari within an hour.
Police rushed to the spot, dispersed the agitators and brought the situation under control. Gary Lye left Phulbari for Dinajpur town under police escort. Road blockade in Nimtola area continued as of filing of this report at 4:30pm.
National Committee to Protect Oil, Gas, Mineral Resources, Power and Ports have been agitating against Phulbari coalmine project since 2005.
Saiful Islam Jewel, president of the Phulbari unit of the committee, said Gary Lye along with other Asia Energy officials came to Phulbari to gear up the company's activities to start mining in the area.
The committee will enforce daylong rail-road blockade programme in Phulbari today, protesting Gary Lye's visit and the Asia Energy's reported move to start mining.