Power situated 14 kilometres north of the world’s largest

Power
generating units are mega project, which require not only huge capital
investment but also various natural resources like, fossil fuels and water,
thus create an immeasurable & everlasting impacts on the environment and
generate tremendous stress in the local eco-system in spite of stringent
government norms to control and mitigate the damages to the environment by the
power plants. In the same  way , Rampal power station is  a proposed
1320 megawatt coal-fired power station at Rampal
Upazila of Bagerhat
District in Khulna, Bangladesh. It is a joint partnership
between India’s state owned National Thermal Power
Corporation and Bangladesh Power Development
Board. The joint venture
company is known as Bangladesh India Friendship Power Company (BIFPC). The
proposed project, on an area of over 1834 acres of land, is situated 14
kilometres north of the world’s largest mangrove
forest Sundarbans which is a UNESCO world heritage site, violates one of the basic preconditions which
says such projects must be outside a 25-kilometer radius from the outer
periphery of an ecologically sensitive area. It will be the country’s largest
power plant. The coal-fired power plants
are likely to be installed on a 50:50 equity basis. They will be run on
imported coal and operated by India’s NTPC. Thirty per cent($302M) of the
equity will be shared jointly and the remaining money($1.5B) will be obtained
from debt.  An UNESCO fact finding mission report
concluded that the power station posed “a serious threat to the site.” The
forest is renowned for its wide variety of wildlife, especially the critically
threatened Royal Bengal Tiger.
 Due to Rampal Power project, there is fear of
the power plants altering the critical water balance in the Sundarban region,
polluting the surrounding water and air, and increasing the risk of oil and
coal spills and increasing the impacts on thermal and biological and
socio-economic.33 million tons of dredge spoil
are proposed to be removed from the Bay of Bengal and Passur river to create
channel for coal transport to the Rampal project site.It will affect the growth
and survival of organisms living at the water bottom and dolphins, fish and
water bird.

Rampal
power plant would cause at least 6,000 premature deaths and low birth weights
of 24,000 babies during its 40-year life due to air pollution from coal burning
(as said by Global environment organization).

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It’s an anti-state project. It is going to be
implemented to destroy the Sundarbans in a planned way. Green groups have been protesting its construction near the Sundarbans(which also acts as a
natural barrier against cyclones). Besides a high number of mangrove tree species,
200 additional plant species, more than 400 species of fish, over 300 species
of birds, 35 species of reptiles, 42 species of mammals and countless benthic
invertebrates, bacteria, fungi, etc and some of the notable wildlife species
residing in the forest include water fowl, heron, pelican, spotted deer, rhesus
macaques, wild boar, tigers, water monitor lizards, fishing cats, otters, olive
ridley turtles, crocodiles, batagur terrapins, and migratory birds, all of
their lives are threatened by power plant nearby Sundarbans area.

The plant will need to
import 4.72 million tons of coal per year. This massive freight will need
about 59 ships each having 80,000-ton capacity that would be taken to the port
on the bank of the Poshur
river. The 40
kilometres from the port to the plant cuts through the Sundarbans and it
includes the river flow path. Environmentalists say these coal-carrying
vehicles are not often covered as they scatter large amounts of fly
ash, coal
dust and sulphur, and other toxic chemicals are released
throughout the life of the project. Carrying large amount of coal through the
shallow rivers also pose a threat as five vessels with load of coal, oil and
potash sank in the nearby rivers from the time period of December 2014 to
January 2017. Aquatic
life of Sundarban is already affected by the vessels plying through the rivers
inside it. By adding the number of vessels needed for Rampal plant will worsen
the situation.

 

 The government also claimed of importing high quality
coal, build a 275-meter high chimney,
employing state-of-the art technology and other steps to keep its impact on the
Sundarbans at a negligible level and 
will not negatively affect the mangrove forest because the emission
of green house gas will be kept at the
minimum level.

 

 

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