Thousands to march against coal plant threat to Bangladesh's Sundarbans forest

Thousands of Bangladeshis will march from the country’s capital, Dhaka, to the world’s biggest mangrove forest next week in protest at plans to build two coal-power plants on the edge of the World Heritage-listed forest.

The organisers of the so-called long march on 10 March hope to persuade the Bangladeshi government to drop its backing for construction of the plants near the Sundarbans, an area of rice paddies, shrimp farms and vast mangrove forests.

Bangladeshi activists launch protest march against Indo-Bangla power plant near Sundarbans

DHAKA, March 10 (Xinhua) -- Hundreds of Bangladeshi environmentalists, cultural and political activists set off on a 200-km march from capital Dhaka on Thursday morning to Sundarbans to protest against the 1.5 billion-U.S. dollar power plant near the world's largest mangrove forests which straddle both Bangladesh and India.

Activists in Dhaka Protest Against India-Bangladesh Power Plant

DHAKA: Hundreds of Bangladeshi activists set off on a 200 km march from Dhaka to the Sundarbans on Thursday to protest against the $1.5 billion power plant near the world's largest mangrove forests which straddle both Bangladesh and India.

The four-day march of environmentalists, and cultural and political activists started at Dhaka's National Press Club and was being led by a platform of left-leaning political parties, social and cultural activists, experts and professionals -- named the National Committee on Protection of Oil, Gas, Mineral Resources, Power and Ports, Xinhua reported.

Power plants near Sundarbans

We are all for adding to the current level of power generation, but without adversely affecting the ecology. We, therefore, concur with the recommendation of the National Committee to Protect Sundarbans, a citizen platform of 101 eminent activists and scholars, that the development activities of Rampal power plant and the adjacent private Orion power plant should be held in abeyance until a new environment impact assessment (EIA) is conducted by a UN-led independent team.

PowerPac to get licence for Mongla Economic Zone

Bangladesh Economic Zones Authority will award PowerPac Economic Zone Private Ltd a qualification or final licence tomorrow to develop and operate Mongla Economic Zone in Bagerhat.

As PowerPac has fulfilled all the conditions, including an environmental impact assessment, feasibility study and a master plan in line with a prequalification licence, Beza will now sign a developer agreement and give it the final go-ahead.

Hasina to open 10 economic zones Sunday

Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina will open 10 economic zones on Sunday in a bid to boost foreign and domestic investment.

The prime minister will inaugurate the economic zones from a programme at Bangabandhu International Conference Centre in Dhaka.

“We are hoping that the prime minister will open several other economic zones by December,” said Paban Chowdhury, executive chairman of Bangladesh Economic Zones Authority or Beza.

New norms for environmental clearance

The Ministry of Environment, Forests and Climate Change (MoEF&CC) has recently reconstituted the State Environment Impact Assessment Authority (SEIAA) and State Expert Appraisal Committee (SEAC) for the Union Territory of Puducherry.

The project proponents seeking environmental clearance either from the MoEF&CC for Category ‘A’ projects or from the SEIAA of Puducherry for Category ‘B’ projects covered under Environment Impact Assessment Notification, 2006 need to apply online only.

With effect from March 1, 2016, no manual application will be entertained.

Biggest private investment in power sector now official

The proposed 612-megawatt imported coal-fired power plant in Banshkhali of Chittagong is all set to become the biggest private sector investment in the country’s power sector.

A joint venture of Bangladesh’s S Alam Group, and China’s SEPCO-3 Electric Power Constitution Corporation and HTG Group will build the ultra super critical thermal power plant with a net capacity of 1,224MW at a cost of $2.4bn (over Tk188.4bn).

Now comes Project Preparatory Fund

The government is now working on fixing modalities for the formation of Project Preparatory Fund (PPF) that will complete preliminary activities before the launch of projects, officials said.

A high official of the finance ministry said the Ministry of Planning (MoP) will frame the modalities for the PPF as projects are approved and revised by this ministry.

Under the move, the proposed fund will bear the costs of land acquisition, feasibility study and environmental impact assessment (EIA) for development projects, a source in the planning ministry said.