CHITTAGONG: The government is going ahead with the construction of Anwara thermal power plant in Chittagong violating the High Court order and allegedly at the behest of foreign countries.
Earlier, the HC directed the government to obtain clearance certificate from the Directorate of Environment (DoE) in order to set up the power plant there.
But the Power Development Board (PDB), the concerned authority in this regard, continues its work without obtaining ‘no objection certificate’ from the DoE.
Banglanews24.com carried out an investigation into the matter, unearthed that the power plant is being constructed as a result of local and foreign conspiracy.
It is learnt that the government is setting up power plant at Anwara despite objection by Civil Aviation, Navy, and Chittagong Port Authority (CPA).
Many think, the government cannot return from construction of this power project being trapped by a neighboring country.
A highly-placed source in DoE said Bangladesh is constructing thermal power plant at a time when rest of the world is closing down this power plant considering its detrimental effect to the environment.
If this project is implemented, the normal activities of the CPA and flight operation at the Shah Amanat International Airport will be affected.
Besides, water of the Karnaphuli river will be polluted by the effluents from the power plant.
Parky sea beach, a nice tourist spot of the country and Navy training base will be affected while city dwellers will suffer from serious health hazard due to the project.
The PDB had to face legal complications at the outset of this project which is being constructed evicting homesteads of around half lakh families. This project was allegedly undertaken by the authority without assessing feasibility.
The government took decision of setting up a 1300 megawatt power plant with Indian loan in Anwara. An agreement has been signed by the two countries in this regard.
A vast area of Rangadia, Gobadia, Mazherchar, Fultali, Paschimchal, Chalitatali, Boalia, Dudhkomra, Barasat, Paschim Tulatuli and Uttor Paruapara under Anwara upazilla has been selected as the site for the power plant. A volume of 3,188 acres of land has been selected for the purpose.
The local administration has already started land acquisition causing eviction of half lakh families and some important industrial plants.
Local people and National Committee to Protect Oil, Gas, Mineral Resources, Power and Ports have been consistently opposing the government decision of constructing power plant at Anwara.
Human Rights and Peace for Bangladesh, a human rights watchdog, filed a petition with the HC challenging the government decision.
Sources said, the authority concerned is committing contempt of court by constructing the power plant without NOC from the DoE.
A reliable source in DoE wishing not to be quoted said the government has taken a suicidal decision by constructing thermal power plant which causes serious environment pollution.
Experts said the burning of coal in the thermal power plant will emit one third carbon dioxide, 40 percent mercury, one fourth nitrogen oxide and two-thirds sulphur dioxide.
Heart disease and asthma are caused by sulphur dioxide while nitrogen oxide damages the tissues in the lung, the experts added.
It is learnt that radioactive agents such as arsenic, chromium, cobalt, lead, manganese, zinc and radionuclide are emitted from coal burning.
As 25 pounds of mercury is produced in generating 100 megawatt electricity, 325 pounds of mercury will be produced in generating 1300 megawatt electricity in Anwara. This mercury is harmful for human health, wildlife and bio-diversity.
It has been alleged that the PDB has not taken clearance from the DoE, civil aviation and port authorities although such permission was necessary as per the apex court’s order.
A very reliable source in DoE said the PDB has not applied for approval yet. He said the PDB has no authority to construct the power plant without this permission.
Prof Anu Muhammad, member secretary of the National Committee to Protect Oil, Gas, Mineral Resources, Power and Ports, said “If the power plant is constructed in Anwara, it will affect the Chittagong port and environment at large.”
He called upon the government to stop construction of the power plant.
BDST 0910 HRS, JUL 16, 2012