Dhaka – Bangladeshi Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina has defended her plan to construct a coal-fired power plant near the world largest mangrove forest despite the green activists’ outcry.
Hasina said the proposed power plant will no way harm the Sundarban forest, a world heritage site, as the government ensures maximum caution keeping in mind the issue of environment.
According to state-run Bangladesh Sangbad Sangstha news agency the issue was raised by former US vice-president Al Gore in a plenary session of the 47th Annual Meeting of the World Economic Forum being held in Davos of Switzerland.
Hasina has been attending the session on special invitation. As the Al Gore, an environmentalist, raised the issue of concern by the activists, Bangladeshi premier invited the former US vice president to visit the power plant site in Bangladesh.
“You can see for yourself what is happening in Rampal. Come to Bangladesh and see yourself whether it affects the environment,” she told Gore.
Norwegian Prime Minister Erna Solberg, CEO of the HSBC Stuart Gulliver, Cofco Agri CEO Jingtao Chi also took part in the plenary session titled “Leading the Fight against Climate Change” at Congress Hall on Wednesday.
Hasina criticized those who are staging demonstration over construction of the power plant saying a quarter was creating an “unnecessary issue”.
“I don’t know exactly what they want and what their intention in mind . . . maybe they have a different intention in their mind,” she said.
Hasina said that the people who were opposed to Rampal project could not point out any logical reason for why and how the plant would affect the environment and even did not respond to her call to visit the plant site either.
The government took all sorts of measures to protect environment, she said adding that the Rampal power plant was being set up around 14 kilometers away from the outer boundary of the Sundarbans while it is about 70 kilometers away from the world heritage site.
Moreover, she said, Rampal power plant was going to be a “clear coal” plant where “supercritical modern technology” was being used.
“We’ve taken all kinds of measures to protect the environment of the Sundarbans and the surrounding areas as well as to protect the habitat and biodiversity of that region,” Hasina added.