Reported on: May 25, 2012 17:32 PM
Reported in: National
Dhaka, May 25 (UNB) - Environmentalists in India are getting ready to approach the court as Maharatna major NTPC’s maiden overseas venture in Khulna has now run into an environment hurdle due to its proximity to the world’s largest mangrove forest Sundarbans, according to an Indian media report.
The environmentalists say that the plant in Bagerhat district’s Rampal area in Khulna division comes less than 10 kilometres closer to the declared preserved zone.
Asked about the development, a top NTPC official said, “It’s a bilateral deal. We hope that the issues will be solved and the project will go through the environmental issues. Since MoU has been signed in February, our next step is to have a power purchase agreement in place and it would be ready within two to three months.” The entire power generated by the project will be supplied to BPDB, to meet growing requirement of Bangladesh, as per the MoU.
Meanwhile, environmentalists in Bangladesh have already moved court asking the project to be scrapped as it comes within 14 kilometres of Sundarbans. The 1320MW (2X660MW) project is a 50/50 joint venture between NTPC and Bangladesh Power Development Board and both the parties have signed a memorandum of understanding recently, says the repot carried by Business Standard.
“Some environmentalists have approached the court as it comes within 14 kilometres near Sundarbans. We’ve given the site clearance for the project. But the environment impact assessment report that the firm has submitted is not satisfying. So we have asked them for a detailed report. We want to know how the firms will mitigate the possible environment hazards,” said Tarun Kanti Shikder, director, Department of Environment in Bangladesh, Khulna division. The project was pegged at about $1.5 billion.
“We have already sent a letter to the Centre, Prime Minister of Bangladesh and chief conservator of forest in that country. If things don’t work out, all the environmental organisations in the region will get together and may approach the court too. It may affect the entire flaura and fauna of Sundarbans, spread across India and Bangladesh,” said Biswajit Roy Chowdhury, secretary, Nature Environment and Wildlife Society.
The Bangladesh court has asked the country’s government to explain, “Why it should not be directed not to set up the plant” in Khulna region. “If both the government’s are keen, then we may have to give clearance for this bilateral project. Everything depends on the EIA report,” Shikder said.
NTPC’s another overseas project in Sri Lanka is also not yet taken off.