DHAKA: Bangladesh will have to cut down its around two thousand trees to make way for the construction of a proposed thermal power plant by India in its landlocked northeastern Tripura State.
An allocation of Tk 3 lakh has been recommended for felling these trees in a bid to reconstruct and repair the roads from Ashuganj to Akhaura, which will be used for Indian heavy-duty trucks to carry goods over to Tripura for construction of the power plant.
The decision is learnt to be laid down in a summary titled ‘Over Dimensional Consignment (ODC)’ prepared for Prime Minister Sheikh Hasian on the eve of Indian Finance Minister Pranab Mukherjee’s visit to Dhaka.
According to the summary, a total of 154 large trees on long 5-km road near Nayanpur need to be removed for the sake of ODC movement.
Oil & Natural Gas Corporation Ltd. (ONGC) of India proposes to initially develop a 726.6-MW Combined Cycle Gas Turbine (CCGT) thermal power plant close to its gas fields in Tripura State and supply power to the deficit areas of the landlocked northeastern states of India
ONGC Tripura Power Company Ltd is set to construct the thermal power plant at Pallatana in Tripura to supply power to the power-deficit areas of the northeastern states of the country.
The heavy equipment of the power plant from Kolkata or other ports would be brought in to Tripura crossing over Akhaura border by using the roads and Ashuganj river port.
A high official of Forest department, on condition of anonymity, said, “We have been directed to cut down the trees and sell those through tender.”
“There might be more than 2000 trees on the 5km road, planted under social afforestation scheme for last ten years,” said the official.
The total length of the road from Ashuganj port to Akhaura border via Sultanpur is 52 kms.
“Lands will be acquired for constructing and repairing the road. But private land will not be acquired on a large scale as Roads and Highways department has its own land,” Secretary of Roads and Railways department Mozammel Haque Khan told banglanews24.com.bd
Sources said Brahmanbaria AC Land offices have already started working for land acquisition to widen the road.
The Indian government is bearing all expenses for road repairs. They have already invited a tender in this regard after getting all the detail of the road from Bangladesh. A local construction firm got the work as per the condition tagged by Bangladesh government, said sources.
“The Indian company will complete the work through Bangladeshi construction firm under the supervision of Communications Ministry,” Mozammel Haque Khan told banglanews24.com.bd
He added: an allocation of Tk 24 crore has been estimated earlier for the works that include culvert and bypass installation.
The summary prepared for the premier proposed to speed up the work by cutting down trees.
Moreover, the Power Development Board has been asked to set up high-voltage cable soon for the movement of ODC in November. But the PBD has not taken any initiative in this connection yet, said the summary.
The note also states that Bangladesh Inland Water Transport Authority (BIWTA) will submit a report on the navigability of waterways and heights of bridges for the movement of water transport from Angtihara to Ashuganj.
According to the summary, it is necessary to inform the local representatives about the new timings of ODC movement. “Besides, law-enforcing agencies in collaboration with local district administration and police should be aware in this regard,” it was quoted as saying.
BDST 1647 HRS, AUGUST 7, 2010