Tawfiq-e-Elahi Chowdhury, the adviser to the Prime Minister on Power, Energy and Mineral Resources Affairs said that, the UNESCO has no objection anymore in installing coal-fired power plant at Rampal. But, before carrying out a Strategic Environmental Assessment (SEA) study on the Sundarbans, the government can’t install the second unit of the Rampal power plant.
The energy advisor to the prime minister informed the newsman about the objection withdrawal of UNESCO in a press conference that held at the Bidyut Bhaban on Monday after coming back from a meeting with UNESCO that held at Poland.
Nasrul Hamid, the state minister for power, energy and mineral resources, Dr. Ahmed Kaykaus the power secretary, environment secretary Ishtiaque Ahmed, Powercell director general Mohhamd Hossain was also present at the press conference.
Tawfiq-e-Elahi said that, special protective measures are taken to safeguard the Sundarbans. Already BDT 700 crore is allocated to ensure the safety of the mangrove forest, he added. The Rampal power plant will not only generate electricity but also will change the lives of the southern parts of Bangladesh, he added. The UNESCO has given its nod to Rampal coal-fired power plant at the current site after getting consent from 12 countries including Finland in this regard. After justifying and analyzing various facts the UNESCO gave the government some conditions to fulfill those for constructing the power plant. The government was directed to continue the construction of the power plant after some precautionary measures and environmental assessments.
Tawfique-E-Elahi said, the UNESCO moved away from its previous stance of halting the project work and now requesting the government to start the project work after carrying out the SEA study. Bangladesh is also interested carry out such study for the sake of the country’s, in fact, the world’s largest mangrove forest, he said. Besides, the government is considering making a provision to control the industrialization at the Sundarbans and its adjacent areas. The rivers will also be dredged by maintaining highest environment safety.
After executing the UNESCO demanded deeds the reports will be submitted the UNESCO authority in the next session. Another environmental assessment was carried out before the construction process began and the UNESCO demanded SEA will be conducted as well, he added. Projects worth BDT 700 crore have been taken to safeguard not only the Rampal area but also the entire Sundarbans, he informed.