Wednesday, March 16th, 2016
An Indian delegation team of green activists on Tuesday stressed for unity of citizens to resist the harmful steps against the Sunderbans, especially the construction of a coal-based power plant near the mangrove forest.
Addressing a discussion on ‘Coal Based Power Plant and Coastal Ecology’ at Khulna Press Club in Khulna City, they said the Indian state-owned company, National Thermal Power Company, had no right to establish ventures in other countries to make a profit.
Sundarbans Watch Group, Coastal Livelihood and Environmental Action Network (CLEAN), All India Union of Forest Working People, Centre for Environment and Participatory Research, Bharat Jana Vigyan Jatha, Delhi Solidarity Group, Machhimar Adhikar Sangharsha Sangathan and National Fish Workers Forum jointly organised the discussion, according to a press release issued by the chief executive of CLEAN.
The discussion was arranged in Khulna only two days after conclusion of a five-day long March from Dhaka to Sunderbans by the National committee to protect oil, gas, mineral resources, power and ports, demanding plans for the coal-based thermal power plant in Rampal, Bagerhat, near the Sunderbans, is scrapped.
Addressing the discussion at Khulna Press Club, the Indian delegation team said that coal-based power plant near the Sundarbans would throw the mangrove forest’s ecology in serious danger.
They also said people of some areas of India had lost their livelihood due to environmental degradation and, that is why, the Indian court closed the activities of many coal-based power plants there.
That is why, they said, the citizens of the two countries should calculate the probable losses and launch a joint movement against coal-based power plants.
All India Union of Forest Working People’s general secretary Ashok Chowdhury said, as a state owned organisation of India, the responsibility of the National Thermal Power Company is to provide the country’s people with service, and they had no right to establish a company in another country to make a profit.
The Union’s deputy secretary Roma Malik said a few rich companies had made a huge amount of money by destroying the rich natural resources in South Asia. ‘The relation among the people of the countries should be developed to resist them.’
Soumya Dutta of Bharat Jana-Vigyan Jatha said both Bangladesh and India have only one Sunderbans and if any of its part is affected, the impact falls on the other part.
‘If an Indian company is liable for that harm, the people of the two countries should work together. The Indian people will work to stop their company from taking up harmful actions, while Bangladeshi people will work for protecting their ecology.’
Bharat Patel of MASS said over 10 thousand people lost their livelihood for a 300-megawatt coal-based power plant on the bank of the Gulf of Kutch in the state of Gujarat of India as the area lost its fish due to the plants’ release of hot water. ‘Only 200 people, on the other hand, got jobs there.’
‘The environment of the area was polluted due to heavy sound and waste generated from the ships coming to a special port constructed for coal supply to the plant,’ he said.
Magline Peter of Kerala-based National Fish Workers Forum alleged that thousands of fishermen lost their jobs due to the nuclear power plant in Tamil Nadu, beside other coal-based power plants, though they promised to provide jobs for several lakhs working people.
‘Later,’ she said,’ about 10 thousand people were provided with only two-months’ work.’
Presided over by Sundarbans Watch Group convener Gouranga Nandy and moderated by CLEAN chief executive Hasan Mehedi, the discussion was also addressed by the Indian green activists’ delegation team members – Umesh Babu, Seela Mahapatra, Maju Varghese, Rajesh Kumar and Ayesha D’Souza, from different parts of India.