The proposed 1320MW Rampal coal-fired power plant needs an independent body of environmental experts to monitor its ecological compliances required to meet as per the Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA) report.
The Department of Environment (DoE) set the condition for the project while approving the EIA, according to official sources.
Referring to recommendations, a top DoE official said the issue of forming an independent monitoring body received a special emphasis while the approval was given to the much-talked-about project.
As per the DoE suggestion, the independent body or committee will comprise of representatives from different sectors, including environmentalists, civil society members, university teachers, and experts, who will monitor the every aspect of the government acts relating to compliance issues. The committee or the body must be free from government influences.
Admitting about the requirement of the independent body or a committee, DoE director Sultan Ahmed said the committee should be formed as soon as possible.
“We’re hopeful that an initiative will be taken from the government’s highest level shortly,” he told UNB.
Bangladesh and India are jointly implementing the Rampal power plant project at a location close to the Sundarbans, the world’s longest mangrove forest, which has been declared a world heritage by the United Nations.
The country’s environmental groups and opposition political parties are vigorously opposing the project fearing a disaster for the Sundarbans and its ecology.
Syeda Rizwana Hasan, executive director of Bangladesh Environmental Lawyers Association (Bela), said it is unlikely that the government would form any independent environmental monitoring body to oversee the Rampal project.
Rizwana, who won the 2009 Goldman Environmental Prize, however, said Bela is deadly against the Rampal project from the very beginning. “We’ve already rejected the ‘faulty’ EIA report,” she told UNB.
Dr Abdullah Harun Chowdhury, a professor of Environmental Science Discipline at Khulna University, who also conducted an EIA on his own found that the Rampal power plant project will bring more harm than good to the country destroying the Sundarbans.
He said the impacts of the coal-fired power plant would be negative and irreversible from physical, biological, social, economic and environment points of view.