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Bangladesh group holds human chains against extractive industry deals

Published by MAC on 2010-01-25
Source: UNB, Daily Star (2010-01-13)

Human chain against open pit and gas deal with MNCs

Body to protect nat'l resource stage human chain on 7-point demands

UNB

13 January 2010

Dhaka - The National Committee to Protect Oil-Gas-Natural Resources staged human-chain demonstrations across the country on their 7-point demands Tuesday, focused on preventing the lease of country's energy turfs to foreign companies on inequitable terms. The human chain was formed at 11 am for one hour at 150 points along the cross-country line from Teknaf to Tentulia. In the capital city, it was observed in front of the National Press Club and at Jatrabari, Motijheel, Muktangan, Shahbagh, Shyamoli, Saver and some other points.

Their 7-point demands include passing a bill in the parliament barring export of natural resources, cancelling the proposed model production-sharing contract (PSC) with foreign oil companies, ditching open-pit coal mining and expelling Asia Energy * from the country and realizing compensation from foreign gas companies for the blowouts in Magurchhara and Tangratila gas fields.

Convenor of the National Committee to Protect Oil-Gas-Natural Resources engineer Mohammad Shahidullah, National committee member-secretary Prof Anu Muhammad, Workers Party president Rashed Khan Menon, CPB general secretary Mujahidul Islam Selim, BSD president Khalequzzaman Bhuiyan, Tipu Biswas, Saiful Haque and Ruhin Hossain Prince addressed a rally at Paltan crossing during the human-chain demo.

The leaders warned the government that they would throw a Dhaka-bound long-march programme soon if it failed to meet the demands.

They urged the government to refrain from signing any deal with foreign oil companies to award gas blocks. "The people will resist any deal with foreign companies which would export gas, coal or any natural resources," Shahidullah told the rally.

He alleged that like the previous governments, the present one also continued the trend of "plundering national wealth".

Demanding full implementation of the agreement signed between the committee leaders and the government after the killing of local people on August 30, 2006, during coal-mining protests, the committee leaders reminded that Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina made a commitment to support the agreement.

"If the government does not implement that deal, it will be a cheating with the people and breach of commitment," Anu Muhammad said, alleging that the government is trying to carry out open-pit coal mining at Phulbari coal mine.

Editorial note: Asia Energy is a wholly-owned subsidiary of UK mining company, GCM Resources plc.


Use national resources for people's welfare

Human chains across country demand

Daily Star

13 January 2010

National Committee for Protection of Oil, Gas, Mineral Resources, Electricity and Ports yesterday formed human chains and held rallies in districts as part of their countrywide programme demanding use of national resources to serve people's interest.

The committee formed human chains at Thakurgaon Intersection in the town, in front of Panchagarh Auditorium and at Zero Point in Tentulia, reports our Thakurgaon correspondent.

At discussions in the areas, the committee leaders urged implementation of their seven-point demand including postponement of the agreement to lease three offshore fields in the Bay of Bengal to explore oil and gas with provision for 80 per cent export.

Oil and gas should be exported only after meeting national requirement, the speakers said, adding that exploration for and extraction of all mineral resources should be done through state-owned bodies to serve people's interest.

Convener of Thakurgaon unit of the committee Principal Merazul Hossain presided over the meeting at Thakurgaon while former lawmaker and Workers Party leader Shahidullah Shahid addressed, among others.

Rajshahi University (RU) unit of National Committee for Protection of Oil, Gas, Mineral Resources, Electricity and Ports yesterday formed a human chain near Kazla Gate at the university to press home its seven-point demand, reports a RU correspondent.

They also held a rally where speakers demanded cancellation of any 'harmful deed' to lease offshore blocks to multinational companies for drilling.

They urged the government and demanded new acts for dealing with offshore drilling with the inclusion of native companies cancelling exporting model 'Model PSC 2008'.

Speakers demanded punishment to the police personnel responsible for the baton charge on Prof Anu Muhammad and other activists of the committee at a procession on September 2 last year.

Rajshahi University unit convener of the committee Dr Muhammad Nasir, NAP Rajshahi district Secretary Mustafizur Rahman Khan Alam, CPB Rajshahi city President Abul Kalam Azad spoke, among others.

Our Gaibandha Correspondent reports: Gaibandha district unit of the national committee yesterday formed a human chain on DB Road demanding implementation of their seven-point charter.

Mineral resources like gas and coal should be used for national development on agriculture, food and industry sectors, not to serve interest of foreign countries, speakers said at a meeting.

They demanded ascertaining extraction of gas and coal under hundred percent national ownership and cancellation of 'export oriented' Model PSC 2008.

They also demanded full implementation of government's committed 6-point Fulbari agreement, cancellation of open pit coal extraction system that will cause harm to cultivable lands, water resources, food security and environment.

The speakers urged the government to take necessary steps to realise proper compensation for damage of Magurchhara and Tengratilla gas field accidents.

Our Khagrachhari Correspondent adds: Local unit of National Committee for Protection of Oil, Gas, Mineral Resources, Electricity and Ports yesterday formed a human chain and held a rally demanding cancellation of the 'anti-people' decision to sell gas and others mineral resources.

At the rally held at Muktamancha area under Sadar upazila, the speakers urged the government to use the natural resources for betterment of the country and people.

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