Powergenerating units are mega project, which require not only huge capitalinvestment but also various natural resources like, fossil fuels and water,thus create an immeasurable & everlasting impacts on the environment andgenerate tremendous stress in the local eco-system in spite of stringentgovernment norms to control and mitigate the damages to the environment by thepower plants.
In the same way , Rampal power station is a proposed1320 megawatt coal-fired power station at RampalUpazila of BagerhatDistrict in Khulna, Bangladesh. It is a joint partnershipbetween India’s state owned National Thermal PowerCorporation and Bangladesh Power DevelopmentBoard. The joint venturecompany is known as Bangladesh India Friendship Power Company (BIFPC). Theproposed project, on an area of over 1834 acres of land, is situated 14kilometres north of the world’s largest mangroveforest Sundarbans which is a UNESCO world heritage site, violates one of the basic preconditions whichsays such projects must be outside a 25-kilometer radius from the outerperiphery of an ecologically sensitive area. It will be the country’s largestpower plant. The coal-fired power plantsare likely to be installed on a 50:50 equity basis. They will be run onimported coal and operated by India’s NTPC.
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Thirty per cent($302M) of theequity will be shared jointly and the remaining money($1.5B) will be obtainedfrom debt. An UNESCO fact finding mission reportconcluded that the power station posed “a serious threat to the site.” Theforest is renowned for its wide variety of wildlife, especially the criticallythreatened Royal Bengal Tiger. Due to Rampal Power project, there is fear ofthe power plants altering the critical water balance in the Sundarban region,polluting the surrounding water and air, and increasing the risk of oil andcoal spills and increasing the impacts on thermal and biological andsocio-economic.33 million tons of dredge spoilare proposed to be removed from the Bay of Bengal and Passur river to createchannel for coal transport to the Rampal project site.
It will affect the growthand survival of organisms living at the water bottom and dolphins, fish andwater bird.Rampalpower plant would cause at least 6,000 premature deaths and low birth weightsof 24,000 babies during its 40-year life due to air pollution from coal burning(as said by Global environment organization).It’s an anti-state project. It is going to beimplemented to destroy the Sundarbans in a planned way. Green groups have been protesting its construction near the Sundarbans(which also acts as anatural barrier against cyclones). Besides a high number of mangrove tree species,200 additional plant species, more than 400 species of fish, over 300 speciesof birds, 35 species of reptiles, 42 species of mammals and countless benthicinvertebrates, bacteria, fungi, etc and some of the notable wildlife speciesresiding in the forest include water fowl, heron, pelican, spotted deer, rhesusmacaques, wild boar, tigers, water monitor lizards, fishing cats, otters, oliveridley turtles, crocodiles, batagur terrapins, and migratory birds, all oftheir lives are threatened by power plant nearby Sundarbans area.The plant will need toimport 4.72 million tons of coal per year.
This massive freight will needabout 59 ships each having 80,000-ton capacity that would be taken to the porton the bank of the Poshurriver. The 40kilometres from the port to the plant cuts through the Sundarbans and itincludes the river flow path. Environmentalists say these coal-carryingvehicles are not often covered as they scatter large amounts of flyash, coaldust and sulphur, and other toxic chemicals are releasedthroughout the life of the project. Carrying large amount of coal through theshallow rivers also pose a threat as five vessels with load of coal, oil andpotash sank in the nearby rivers from the time period of December 2014 toJanuary 2017. Aquaticlife of Sundarban is already affected by the vessels plying through the riversinside it.
By adding the number of vessels needed for Rampal plant will worsenthe situation. The government also claimed of importing high qualitycoal, build a 275-meter high chimney,employing state-of-the art technology and other steps to keep its impact on theSundarbans at a negligible level and will not negatively affect the mangrove forest because the emissionof green house gas will be kept at theminimum level.