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Khaleda Zia to demand scrapping of Rampal power plant

Khaleda-Zia

Dhaka: After its continuing criticism of the Rampal power plant, being built jointly with India, the opposition Bangladesh Nationalist Party (BNP) plans to demand that Dhaka scrap the project.

BNP chief and former Bangladesh Prime Minister Khaleda Zia is to hold a press conference to demand scrapping of the coal-based power plant, media reports said.

The BNP has been alleging that the Sheikh Hasina government is constructing the Rampal plant, located near the Sundarbans, for the interest of India despite knowing that it is harmful to the mangrove forests. The party had held protests against construction of the plant in July.

The agreement was inked by India and Bangladesh on July 12 this year to construct a 1,320 megawatt coal-fired power plant near the Sundarbans, as part of the bilateral cooperation that would mark the transition from electricity export to generation level.

Bangladesh-India Friendship Power Company (Pvt) Limited (BIFPCL), the joint venture enterprise, inked the deal with Bharat Heavy Electricals Limited (BHEL).

India’s Exim Bank is to provide $1.49 billion for the project, scheduled to start generating power in 2019.

In August 2010, a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) was signed between India’s state-owned National Thermal Power Corporation (NTPC) and Bangladesh Power Development Board (BPDB) where they designated to launch the project by this year.

The NTPC and the BPDB agreed to implement the project on a 50-50 equity basis.

The project would enhance both nations ability to generate electricity.

Environmentalists say the power plant would cause extensive damage to the world’s largest mangrove forest in the Sundarbans as well as the locals living nearby.

–IANS

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