The government report on environmental impacts of the coal-fired power plant in Rampal has largely ignored the hazards that the shipping and dredging the plant will bring, two foreign experts have said.
Dr William Kleindl, research faculty at the University of Montana in the US, and Dr Jon Brodie, professorial research fellow at Australia’s James Cook University, have come up with the research report at the request of the National Committee for Saving the Sundarbans.
Prof Anwar Hossain of Bangladesh Agricultural University or BAU presented the summary of the report to the media on Saturday.
“Bangladesh government has not sufficiently assessed the threats from dredging in the Bay of Bengal and Passur River; neither it has made adequate plans to mitigate those threats,” he said.
“The government of Bangladesh has not specified where dredge spoil will be dumped or its potential impacts on aquatic species.”
The report ‘Environmental Impact Assessment’ or EIA, also lacks plans to manage the impacts that might result from coal transport through the Bay of Bengal or Passur River, said the BAU professor.
“There are no effective emergency response measures in place to respond to coal transport accidents. The government has not sufficiently assessed the impacts or mitigation of those impacts resulting from the transhipment locations at Akram Point,” he said quoting the report.
The National Committee for Saving the Sundarbans and Bangladesh Poribesh Andolon or BAPA organised the press conference at Sirajul Islam Lecture Hall, Dhaka University.
BAPA General Secretary Abdul Matin said: “The government’s EIA report is faulty. Now it has been proven scientifically.”
The government has been saying the 1320 megawatt plant, being set up in Bagerhat’s Rampal jointly with India, will not impact the Sundarbans or the environment.
Left-leaning political parties and environmentalists, however, fear hazardous impacts of the power plant on the ecology of Sundarbans, a world heritage site.
Rasheda K Chowdhury, vice-president of BAPA, MM Akash, professor of economics at Dhaka University, Badrul Imam, professor of geology at Dhaka University, were present at the event