The construction work of Rampal Power Plant will continue as the UNESCO has endorsed the government’s scientific statement at the 41st session of the World Heritage Committee. “Necessary infrastructure will also be constructed at the site as per recommendations of the World Heritage Committee of UNESCO,” Prime Minister’s Energy Affairs Adviser Dr Tawfiq-e-Elahi Chowdhury, Bir Bikram, told a press conference over the Rampal power plant project at Bidyut Bhaban.
He said that the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) made it clear that no large-scale infrastructure should be constructed at the plant area before a Strategic Environmental Assessment (SEA) in the region.
The government is constructing a 1,320-MW coal-based power plant at Rampal aimed at improving the country’s power generation capacity.
“We will carry out the SEA in two years, while a progress report of the SEA would be prepared by 2018. We will also take mitigation measures based on the environmental assessment,” Dr Towfiq Chowdhury said.
He said the government is also aware about the largest mangrove forests Sundarbans, as a world heritage site, adding, “we will monitor the project as well as the environment closely to take quick mitigation measures.” The government successfully submitted its scientific and logical statement at the 41st session of the World Heritage Committee of the UNESCO as an observer of the session, the advisor said.
He said that member states of the session supported and raised voice in favour of the scientific statement and then the 21-member committee endorsed it by withdrawing the earlier objection for setting up the plant at its current site.
The committee in its decision also welcomed Bangladesh for postponing construction of the Rampal Power Plant unit-2 alongside a number of steps taken by the government to ensure conservation of the Sundarbans, Dr Towfiq said.
He said reports published in many newspapers quoting the UNESCO and its 41st session’s decisions are confusing and misguided.
During the press conference, Power Division Secretary Dr Ahmed Kaikaus, chairman of Bangladesh Power Development Board (BPDB) Khaled Mahmud and Director General of Power Cell Engineer Mohammad Hossain were present.