Police trouble_11.03
Photo taken during the Long March in March 2016

August 03, 2016

Indian Peoples movements and Civil Society Groups across India are condemning the brutal attack on activists and concerned citizens in Bangladesh yesterday July 28, 2016. Protesters were marching to the Prime Ministers office in Dhaka to urge her to shut down the Rampal Coal-fired Power Plant that is coming up only 14 KMs from the Sundarbans, and a mere 4 KMs from the Ecologically Critical Area, threatening massive environmental damage.

Link to video footage of police action against the protestors. https://www.facebook.com/SaveSundarbans.SaveBangladesh/videos/704607139677582/

Indian communities have a long history of resistance to extremely polluting coal mines and coal-fired power plants, and have won several such struggles. The massive adverse impact that these projects have had on the lives of people and surrounding environment is well known and documented.

The Indian Government is playing a huge role in this project as the joint venture company building the plant, the Bangladesh India Friendship Power Company Ltd (BIFPCL) has India’s state owned NTPC owning 50% equity in the project, with Bangladesh Power Development Board owning the other half. Furthermore, the main finance for the project (70% or approx 1.6 billion dollars and counting) will come from the Indian Export Import Bank. Bharat Heavy Electricals (BHEL) will supply all major equipment for the project. A few weeks ago, BHEL and BIFPCL signed the EPC Contract (Engineering, Procurement and Construction).

The peaceful protest march towards the Bangladesh PM’s office which started from the National Press Club, Dhaka in the morning on July 28 was met with brute force by the police with protesters being lathi charged and tear-gassed as they pushed past the barricades put in by the police.

For years, citizen’s groups, environmentalists, lawyers, students etc. have been lobbying the government of Bangladesh to put a stop to the Rampal Power Plant. But the Rampal Power Project or the PM’s “Pet Project” has been steadily making progress with the EPC agreement being signed a few weeks ago.

We stand in solidarity with our friends across the border and strongly condemn the attack on them by the Bangladesh government. We also demand that the Bangladesh government stop using all undemocratic means to deal with legitimate people’s protests.

Sundarbans, the world’s largest contiguous mangroves, is shared between Bangladesh and India, and the international border is only a political line on the map.  Pollution from the Rampal (and other) coal power plants will harm numerous people on both sides.   Considering this threat to both India and Bangladesh, we also demand that the Indian Government withdraw from this potentially disastrous project.

Signed:

  1. Ashok Chowdhury & Roma Malik, All India Union of Forest Working People
  2. Soumya Dutta, Bharat Jan Vigyan Jatha
  3. Madhuresh Kumar, National Alliance of People’s Movements (NAPM)
  4. Maglin Peter, Teeradesa Mahila Vedi
  5. Bharat Patel, Machimar Adhikar Sangharsh Sangathan
  6. National Hawker Federation
  7. Himanshu Thakkar. South Asia Network on Dams, Rivers & People. Delhi
  8. Ashok Shrimali – Secretary General of mm&P
  9. Environment Support Group – Trust, Bangalore
  10. Umesh Babu, Delhi Forum
  11. Xavier Dias, Khan Kaneej Aur Adhirkar
  12. Vaishali Patil, Forum Against Disastorous Project in Konkan.
  13. Environics Trust
  14. Shripad Dharmadhikary, Manthan Adhyayan Kendra, Pune/Badwani
  15. Shweta Tripatji, Society for Rural Urban & Tribal Initiative (SRUTI)
  16. Indigenous Perspectives
  17. North East Peoples Alliance
  18. Manipur Cycle Club
  19. Programme for Social Action (PSA)
  20. Muthukrishnan, writer / Activist Madurai
  21. Mahan Sangarsh Samiti
  22. Priya Pillai, Greenpeace India
  23. Ravi Rebbapragada, Executive Director, Samata India
  24. Jiten Yumnam, Secretary, Centre for Research and Advocacy, Manipur
  25. Manshi Asher,  Himdhara Collective, Himachal Pradesh
  26. Gautam bandyopadhyay, Nadi Ghati Morcha
  27. Vimalbhai, Matu Jansangthan
  28. Indian Social Action Forum (INSAF)
  29. Afsar Jafri, Focus on the Global South
  30. Samir Mehta, International Rivers South Asia
  31. PT George, Intercultural Resources.
  32. Seela Mahapatra, The Research Collective
  33. Tarini Manchanda, filmmaker
  34. K N Ramachandran, CPI-ML (Red Star)
  35. Kiran Shaheen, Aql ki Dhaba,
  36. Jai Sen,  India Institute for Critical Action: Centre In Movement  (CACIM)
  37. Vijay Pratap, South Asian Dialogues on Ecological Democracy (SADED)
  38. Focus on the Global South
  39. Gururaja Budhya, Urban Research Centre, Bangalore, India.
  40. Krishnakant, Mithi Virdi
  41. Sundarrajan, Sundarrajan, Poovulagin Nanbargal, KKNPP
  42. All India Forum of Forest Movements
  43. Himanshu Damle, Public Finance Public Accountability Collective (PFPAC)
  44. Equations
  45. Abhijit, Lokayat, Pune
  46. Ayesha Dsouza, Centre for Financial Accountability

For further information please write to : media@financialaccountability.org.in

 

 

 

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