The UNESCO backed away from opposing the government’s plan to set up a coal-fired power plant near the Sundarbans because of arguments made about mitigating measures, the prime minister’s energy adviser has said
Tawfiq-e-Elahi Chowdhury briefed the media at Dhaka’s Biddut Bhaban on Sunday, over decisions adopted by the World Heritage Committee last week on the world’s largest mangrove forest.
Representatives from Bangladesh were able to convince the international society about the technologically advanced measures the country planned to take while setting up the Rampal Power Plant in Bagerhat, he said.
Environmental campaigners fear the thermal power plant, to be located 14 kilometres from the Sundarbans Reserve Forest, will cause irreversible damage to the biodiversity at the world heritage site.
The relocation of the Indo-Bangladesh project was among several recommendations made in a mission report by the World Heritage Centre and International Union for Conservation of Nature last year.
The World Heritage Committee gave Bangladesh until December, 2018 to meet all recommendations, including a strategic environmental assessment of the southwest region, before building the power plant.
“Bangladesh is working with environment-friendly and sustainable economic infrastructure and limited availability of land,” said Chowdhury.
“We are going to set up the Rampal plant using latest technology. We gave them that explanation. So they were convinced.”