Tuesday, September 26, 2017 | ePaper

UNESCO report and Rampal Power Plant

  • Print
THE government has been playing hide-and-seek with our citizens regarding the setup of the passionately protested Rampal Power Plant nearby the Sundarbans. The UNESCO has made it clear that no large-scale industrial or infrastructural development should be allowed to proceed in the vicinity of the world heritage site before a Strategic Environmental Assessment (SEA) is carried out which is in sharp contrast to what the government delegates said on July 9 involving the UNESCO. Despite protests from every nook and corner of the country and concern expressed by environmentalists, the government's adamancy to setup the environment threatening power plant is mysterious. The nation cannot but observe how the government's adamancy is destroying the pristine beauty and endangering its rich aquatic and animal diversity with the paradoxical progress of the project.
On July 9, Prime Minister's Energy Affairs Adviser Tawfiq-e-Elahi Chowdhury briefed newsmen that the UNESCO had allowed the continuation of building at the site and asked to do a SEA. But in reality, the UN Organization has given Bangladesh until December 2018 to implement recommendations made by a UN monitoring mission for protecting the Sundarbans before it could start building the power plant and the conservation situation would be examined at the 43rd Session of the World Heritage Committee in 2019.   In contrast to UNESCO, when the 41st Session was in progress, a Bangladesh Foreign Ministry release said the World Heritage Committee of the UN body had withdrawn its objection to the setting up of the plant at its current site. We get a sense of something seeing the up-side-down policy shift of UNESCO.
The UNESCO had requested Bangladesh to put in place a management system for shipping to minimize negative impacts, including from associated activities such as dredging. It reiterated its request to Bangladesh to undertake the Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA) for any future dredging of the Pashur River. It noted with concern that sea level rise, salt intrusion and reductions in fresh water flows were posing a threat to the Sundarbans' ecosystem and that the area was particularly vulnerable to impacts from these threats. It emphasized on the importance of trans-boundary cooperation between Bangladesh and India regarding the preservation of the Sundarbans and urged Bangladesh to fully implement the recommendations made by a UNESCO mission last year in relation to ensuring adequate freshwater inflows to the mangrove forest.
The UNESCO requested Bangladesh to ensure that these impacts were comprehensively assessed as part of the SEA and adequate technological measures were put in place to mitigate these impacts. It is a question to be solved as to why the government, despite protests from all social strata, is advancing to destroy the Sundarbans by setting up coal-fired plants. For whom the government is working? Who will be benefitted from the destruction of the mangrove forest?

More News For this Category

Devise alternative to polythene

THOUGH polythene shopping bags have been banned since 2002 for blocking water flows, coagulating drainage systems, and hurdling surface waters to intrude into the ground they have staged a

Angela Merkel wins Fourth Term

ANGELA Merkel creates history by winning election fourth time. Her Christian Democratic Union/Christian Social Union (CDU/CSU) had maintained a double-digit lead over the Social Democratic Party (SPD) led by

Preventing Rohingya killings by International Genocide Law

Barrister M. A. Muid Khan : "…Any time you find the government involved in a conspiracy to violate the citizenship or the civil rights of a people, then you are wasting

Don't protect us from doing business!

Thilo Brodtmann  :After the State of the European Union address, the Commission presented its proposal for a screening procedure that encourages member states to control and possibly block acquisitions by

Readers’ Forum

Reading historyThe Muslims never drove away the Buddhists from the soil of India-their breeding land,  did not kill 60 lakh Jews in Europe and other parts of the world during

BUET project on highway accidents needs early execution

A PROJECT developed by The Accident Research Institute (ARI) at Bangladesh University of Engineering and Technology (BUET) is expected to help in the reduction of road accidents by 50%,

Despite repeated global condemnation plight of Rohingyas worsens

THE inflow of Rohingya refugees from violence-torn Rakhine State in Myanmar slowed for the last few days owing to bad weather but thousands have started entering Bangladesh once more.

Quota system on perpetual basis may be disastrous

Dr. Md. Shairul Mashreque :The Bangladesh Public Service Commission (PSC) has recently advocated simplification of quota system in recruitment process. For there are existing complexities in applying quota. "The application

Distorted picture coming from Myanmar

Mohammad Amjad Hossain  :Distorted picture is emerging from the mouth of Nobel laureate and de facto leader of Myanmar Aung San Suu Kyi, who herself was a prisoner during military

International response to the Mexico earthquake

Tony Redmond :Until this week, it had been 32 years since Mexico City suffered its last major earthquake. That was of 8.0 magnitude, which was approximately tenfold greater than Tuesday's