Ansar Ahmed Ullah, ::
On Sunday 7th January 2017 Global Day of Protest was organised in London to Save the Sunderbans and to stop the Rampal coal-power plant. Alongside nationwide protests in Bangladesh, UK’s green activists together with environmentalists of UK Bengali community staged a colourful demonstration in Altab Ali Park, East London. Community activists and transnational environmentalists rallied with placards and banners displaying images of tigers, leopards, rivers, trees, and signs of large waving hands as symbols of ‘NO’. They shouted No’ to Rampal Power Plant”.
Speakers at the rally, organised by the Committee to Protect Oil-Gas-Mineral Resources, Power and Port in Bangladesh, said that it is incredible that Bangladeshi government entered a deal with Indian corporations to build coal-fired plant in Rampal, which would leave devastating impact on 50 million people in Bangladesh and the world’s largest mangrove, the Sundarbans.
While the UK, Germany, Denmark and Finland are rethinking about the negative aspects of coal-energy, Bangladesh government has chosen dirty coal energy that would destroy the country’s ecology. Protesters called on the Bangladesh government to scrap the contentious deal with India with immediate action.
Meanwhile, more than 4000 people took to the streets in Dhaka, Berlin, Chiang Mai, Halle, The Hague, Paris, Gwangju, Hordaland, Kolkata, Turku, New York, Melbourne and many other states of the world to protest against the Rampal plant. The Sundarbans is the largest single tract mangrove forest. It is extraordinarily rich in biodiversity, and is a World Heritage site. But it is now in grave danger of losing its unique biodiversity and rare eco-system. The threats to the Sundarbans are so critical that the UNESCO has also warned that the Sundarbans ‘may fall in grave danger if the planned coal-fired power-plant is established’.
The plant is a great threat to the survival of Sundarbans because it would not only pollute environment but is also inviting national and international vested interest groups to seize forest to set up hundreds of commercial projects in and around the mangrove which would destroy the forest.
As a next step to this global day of action, the NCBD has called for a half-day strike to be held on 26 January, 2017. The UK branch of the NCBD and Phulbari Solidarity Group will also hold public meeting in the UK in solidarity with the strikers in Bangladesh.