Catastrophe Underlying Industrialization (The Rampal Project)
07. October 2018 at 09:01
The government of Bangladesh has been trying best to take Bangladesh to greater heights. While doing that, they have undertaken some massive projects. The Rampal Power Plant Project is one of them. This project would provide a vast amount of energy and help to overcome the crisis of electricity generation.While doing that, the establishment of this plant would pose a serious threat to the forestry, specially to The Sundarbans and create an ecological imbalance. Considering both the aspect, the common public, private sectors and the government have to decisive and critical in their approach.
The feasible and sustainable infrastructure of modern cities has paved its way upon the substantial flourishing of industrialization and factorization of industries. Looking upon the developed and affluent cities, the developing and under developed countries have started to pursue their ways into industrialization in order to stand tall as an independent and prosperous state. Industrialization has given us endless possibilities with production, development, growth, expansion and success. But the fact that it bears within itself the massive threat and perils it possesses on the environment, climate, wildlife and mankind cannot be simply ignored.
The Rampal Power Station which is a proposed 1320 megawatt coal-fired power station at Rampal Upazila of Bagerhat District in Khulna, Bangladesh is a joint partnership between India's state-owned National Thermal Power Corporation and Bangladesh Power Development Board. The proposal of this power station has divided opinions and issued a debate all over the country including opposition from UNESCO on its threat to World’s Largest Mangrove forest, The Sundarbans and the destruction it may bring to the ecosystem, mankind and wildlife surrounding the specified area. The government seems to stand firm on its decision of the proposal and to ensure maximum production and output from it. In tough times when human needs and state development are the major objectives the government needs to ensure, climate becomes a luxury and industrialization becomes the end goal. But can we really ignore what keeps us alive and help us breathe? Maybe we have to look further into the future and in joint collaboration nationally and internationally tackle the challenge to bring a balance between man’s needs and nature’s conservation.
The world’s largest mangrove forest, The Sundarbans has been recognized by UNESCO as World Heritage in 1997. It bears the famous Royal Bengal Tiger of Bangladesh with its natural wild wife, flora and fauna. It has been a natural habitat for many people and a prime guard of nature. This nature’s wonder and Bangladesh’s prime asset is under severe threat due to the recently proposed 320-MW thermal power plant which is to be established just 14 miles to the north of Sundarbans surrounding Satkhira and Bagerhat district. During 2010 the Bangladesh India Friendship Power Company Ltd which is a Bangladesh-India joint venture between the Power Development Board (PDB) of Bangladesh and India's National Thermal Power Corporation (NTPC) decided to set up the plant at Rampal at a cost of $1.5 billion. The project will be implemented by PDB and NTPC on a 50:50 equity basis. Out of the overall cost 70 percent will be arranged through loans and the remaining 30 percent will equally be shared by the PDB and NTPC.
The land area needed for the project is approximated to be around 19 hundred acres and the specified area is mostly used for shrimp agriculture and shrimp aquaculture pond with people mostly depending on them for their living. For the proper circulation of the plant, it would need to deposit approximately 4.72 million tons of coal per year which would need around 60 ships to deposit the wastes on the bank of river poshur. The coal carrying vehicles would scatter fly ash, coal, dust and other toxic chemicals all throughout its life. Withdrawal of a massive amount of 219,600 cubic meters of water is needed from the nearby river poshur and discharge of treated waste water into the river would pollute the river. Liberation of toxic gases like carbon monoxide, oxides of nitrogen and sulfur dioxides would put the ecosystem of The Sundarbans at bay. Although the people are assured that the construction of the plant would be done under strict supervision of modern technology, the indications exhibit a catastrophic future for The Sundarbans and its inhabitants. Despite a series of long protests and debates, overcoming all opinions and views, the government decided to stay resolute in its decision. On July 12, 2016, a contract was signed to finally install the plant and since then, again a mass upsurge and protest have started to flow all over the country.
Nature and climate both are our friends, friends that take so little of us and give so much to us. Surely we cannot ignore a country’s urge to move forward, develop and feed its people. But what good are development and progress if it breaks down the ecosystem you live within and takes out the lives of the ones nurtured by Mother Nature? The contribution and relentless efforts of the government to take Bangladesh to the pinnacle of success is ever valued with high esteem. But they must take a serious look at the probable catastrophe The Sundarbans, wildlife, nature, and mankind might suffer due to the implementation of the project and take necessary measures to tackle the situation.