MAC: Mines and Communities

Bangladesh: Police fire tear gas and rubber bullets against Sunderbans protestors

Published by MAC on 2017-02-02
Source: Associated Press, Daily Star (2017-01-30)

Five activists detained, two journalists injured.

Police in Bangladesh’s capital have fired tear gas and rubber bullets to disperse protesters demanding cancellation of plans for a massive coal-fired power plant near the ecologically sensitive Sunderbans mangrove forests. The protesters also called for an eight-hour general strike in Dhaka.

Meanwhile, another bulk cargo carrying at least 1,000 tons coal sank off in Sundarban coast.

See previous on MAC:

2017-01-08 Global Day of Protest Against India-Bangladesh Rampal Plant

2016-04-09 Bangladesh suspends work on coal plant after demonstrators killed

 

Police fire tear gas and rubber bullets against Sunderbans protestors

Associated Press

28 January 2017

DHAKA, Bangladesh — Police in Bangladesh’s capital fired tear gas and rubber bullets on Thursday to disperse protesters demanding cancellation of plans for a massive coal-fired power plant near ecologically sensitive mangrove forests on the coast. Five people were injured.

The protesters, consisting mostly of leftist political groups and citizens, had called for an eight-hour general strike in Dhaka on Thursday. The violence took place at Shahbagh intersection in Dhaka, but most of the city was unaffected.

The government insists that the planned 1.3-gigawatt Rampal power station near the Sundarbans, a world heritage site, is key to reaching its target of 24 gigawatts of electrical capacity by 2021.

UNESCO says the plant poses a serious threat to the Sundarbans, a low-lying delta region comprising about 200 islands at the northern fringe of the Bay of Bengal.

The $1.8 billion project, approved in 2012, is a joint venture between Indian and Bangladeshi state power companies. It calls for building what would be Bangladesh’s largest coal-fired power plant just 65 kilometers (40 miles) from the Sundarbans.

The Sundarbans, formed over millennia as rivers deposited silt carried down from the Himalayas, is teeming with wildlife including a few hundred endangered Royal Bengal tigers and endangered species of river dolphins.

Most of the Sundarbans region is located in Bangladesh, with a third falling within India. It is also home to some 13 million impoverished Bangladeshis and Indians, who are mostly off the electricity grid and would not benefit directly from the project.


Police thrash Sundarbans activists during shutdown

Daily Star

28 January 2017

The half-day shutdown sponsored by pro-Sundarbans activists in Dhaka ended this afternoon with daylong confrontation and showers of teargas shells at Dhaka University.

Nearly a hundred teargas shells were lobbed to keep the protesters at bay there and five of them were put in lock-ups. Two journalists were injured while discharging duties.

Elsewhere, pro-shutdown demonstrations and processions were brought out at different points in the city under a tight police watch. No otherwise untoward incident was reported.


Ship carrying 1000 tonnes of coal sank in Sundarbans' Passur river mouth

Sun Online Desk - http://www.daily-sun.com/post/198215/Ship-carrying-1000-tons-coal-sank-in-Sundarban%E2%80%99s-Passur-river-mouth

13 January, 2017

A bulk cargo carrying at least 1,000 tons coal sank off Sundarban coast on Friday. The vessel ‘MV Aijgati’ sank in the Passur River mouth’s Mongla Fairway Buoy area, just 12 kilometers south of Sundarban forest reserve.

A crack developed at the bottom of the vessel that caused the accident at 7:30 am, reports News24 TV, 16 people on board were rescued.

Earlier the vessel left the Mongla port and was heading towards Nawapara in Jessore, the port officials said.

Naval accidents and spill of coal, oil and other chemicals in the Sundarban mangrove region are drawing global attention in the recent years.

Earlier on March 19, 2016, the Sea Horse, a large bulk cargo vessel carrying 1,245 metric tons of coal, sank in the Shela River inside the Sundarbans.

Months before, another vessel carrying 510 tons of coal capsized in the Passur river in the Sundarbans on October 27, 2015. This accident was preceded by the devastating one in Sundarban history know as 'Shela Oil Spill' in December 2014 which spread over 359 square kilometers of forest, intersected by several rivers and tributaries.

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