Politicians, academics and rights defenders on Friday demanded immediate implementation of Phulbari agreement signed in 2006 stating that open-pit method would not be followed in mining coal at Phulbari in Dinajpur.
They made the demand at a discussion organised by Dhaka City unit of the National Committee to Protect Oil, Gas, Mineral Resources, Power and Ports at Maitri Auditorium at the Communist Party of Bangladesh central office marking Phulbari Day, which would be observed on August 26.
The then BNP-led alliance government was compelled to sign the seven-point deal with the national committee amidst protests against open-pit mining. Four people were killed in police firing during the protests.
The discussants also called on the government to refrain from extracting coal in open-pit method according the commitment the prime minister, Sheikh Hasina, had made during the Phulbari movement.
The national committee member-secretary, Anu Muhammad, said that the natural resources must be used for the development of our country.
According to the deal, the government must refrain from using open pit method for coal extraction and the ‘controversial’ international company Asia Energy must be ousted from Bangladesh, Anu said.
Asia Energy is remaining in the country and some vested quarters were working in favour of the company, Anu alleged.
Academic BD Rahamatullah urged the government to refrain from establishing coal-based power plants and recommended introduction of solar plants.
Mohammad Enamul Haque said that the energy security of the country might face problem if the natural resources could not be utilised properly.
Dhaka University teacher Mohammad Nanjimuddin Khan said, ‘We must use our sea resources for the development of the country.’
Engineer Kollol Mustafa said that open-pit mining must be avoided as it would cause huge loss of the lands and water resources.
Chaired by Dhaka City unit national committee convener Fazlur Rahman, the discussion was addressed, among others, by politicians Abdus Satter, Ruhin Hossain Prince, Ragib Ahsan Munna and member secretary of the city committee Abu Bakar Ripon.
The national committee will place wreath at Central Shaheed Minar in the morning on August 26, as central programme, the leaders announced.