PM defends Rampal Plant in interaction with Gore at WEF

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DAVOS, Switzerland  : Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina once again defended the construction of Rampal Coal-fired Power Plant in Bagerhat as former US vice-president Al Gore raised the issue in a plenary session of the 47th Annual Meeting of the World Economic Forum (WEF).

The prime minister also invited Al Gore, a globally famed environmentalist, to visit Bangladesh and see for himself that “what is happening in Rampal”. “Come to Bangladesh and see yourself whether it (plant) affects the environment,” she said.

Apart from Sheikh Hasina and Al Gore, 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 here on Wednesday evening.

PM’s Deputy Press Secretary Md Nazrul Islam briefed reporters after the event.

Coming down heavily on those who are staging movement centering the Rampal power plant, Sheikh Hasina said a quarter was creating an “unnecessary issue” regarding the power plant.

“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. The premier said that the peoppe 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. Sheikh Hasina said her government took all sorts of measures to protect environment. “As I’m the prime minister of the country, nobody is more concerned than me in any issue . . . I won’t give permission for any project where there is a possibility of any type of damage,” she said.

The premier said 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,” the premier added.

Explaining the preventive measures, Sheikh Hasina said coal would be transported to power plant site from deep sea in covered barges, while covered and low-sound engines will be used in the barges and therefore “there is no possibility of environment pollution”.

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