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Tuesday, October 1, 2013


Gani Bhai, RAM'era (Indian Authority) 'Khelachhe' R 'PAL'era, 'mane', 'BAL'era (Bangalira in Bangladesh) khelchhe; I think that's waht you wanted to say?
Shahadat Suhrawardy


Date: Tue, 1 Oct 2013 09:58:07 -0400

01 October2013

Dear distinguished friends;

Assalamu Alaikum.

At this time, all I can tell you; I hate "RAM" and indeed equally hate "PAL". And "RAMPAL? My sentiments only multiply!
I look through this developments with grave concern and proudly recognize your democratic "noises".

Coming few months, I shall be extremely busy and thus taking "a break" from showing up in this site. I plan to return during early 2014.
Meanwhile, I may often jump in if I can make moments to do so.

Best wishes and regards, as always.


Mohammad Gani

On Mon, Sep 30, 2013 at 7:39 PM, rehana <> wrote:
More from Diyan, an environmentalist married to my niece.

The Time article quotes Diyan at the end! The reporter spoke to Diyan when writing it. There is no doubt that the Rampal power plant is going to have devastating consequences for sundarban and most people are against it. We are all part of the anti Rampal project campaign. 

The civil society uprisings against the fulbari open pit coal mine had managed to stop the project some years ago but many protesters lost their lives. We are all hopeful that his project will stop too. So far protests have been peaceful. Sundarban is a Ramsar site (wetland if international importance declared globally) and a unesco world heritage site so there are pressure internationally to protect it as well. 


-- shilpi

On Sun, Sep 29, 2013 at 10:31 PM, Rakhal Bandho <> wrote:


Thanks for sharing. I appreciate Jason'n knock on the Bangladesh Environment issue. 


How Not to Love Nature: Shove a Coal Plant Next to Earth's Biggest Mangrove Forest

Smoke-belching behemoth near Bangladesh's Sundarbans National Park will threaten the home of Bengal tigers, river dolphins and other species
Rafiqur Rahman / Reuters Armed rangers patrol Bangladesh's Sundarbans forest, home to royal Bengal tigers, in an effort to protect the big cats from poachers
Follow @TIMEWorld
Man-eating tigers have long provided the best defense for Bangladesh's Sundarbans National Park, the planet's largest mangrove forest and a UNESCO World Heritage site. Each year between 20 to 50 people are recorded killed within the reserve's shrinking boundaries (though guides say the unofficial toll could be much higher), striking fear into would-be poachers and anyone looking to carve out more turf in this small, overpopulated country. These days, however, environmentalists are alarmed by a more insidious threat to the park's future: a massive 1,320-MW coal-fired power plant that's due to be constructed just 14 km away, in the city of Rampal.
The government insists that the project, a joint venture with India's state-owned National Thermal Power Corp., is needed to bring affordable electricity to one of the poorest corners of Bangladesh amid rising demand and energy costs. But opponents counter that operating a coal plant so close to an ecologically critical area will devastate waterways and vegetation that support a range of extraordinary wildlife, from river dolphins to the iconic royal Bengal tiger. In a low-lying and already flood-prone country, there are additional fears that without the natural buffer the mangrove offers, people will be even more vulnerable to severe weather.
"No sane person in the world would agree to this project," says Kallol Mustafa, an engineer and member of a newly formed protection committee.
To bolster their case, critics are quick to point to a coal-fired plant of similar size that was constructed in 1979 in Fayette, Texas, with pledges from authorities that damage would be negligible on the area's agriculture. The authorities were wrong: in 2010, scientists reported that the roughly 30,000 tons of sulfur dioxide emitted by the plant each year was killing vegetation across the state, provoking a public outcry that has since pressured the Texas power authority into taking steps to shut the plant down. The proposed plant at Rampal, by comparison, is projected to discharge some 52,000 tons of sulfur dioxide annually.

Read more:

On Thu, Sep 26, 2013 at 2:54 PM, Tanvir Nowaz <> wrote:
TIME's article...

From: Tanvir Nowaz <>
To: Syed Margoob <>; Rakhal Bandho <>; Bangladeshi Americans <>
Cc: Salim Afsar <>; "" <>; "" <>; "" <>; Syed Asif <>; Shilpy <>; Akram Bhuiya <>; Mahbubur Rahman <>; Mohammad Enayetullah <>; mahmud rahman <>; Ayubur Rahman <>; Apu Ashab <>; Ruban Ruban <>; zainul abedin <>; Bazlul Wahab <>; "" <>; Shaikh Hamid <>; Firozur Rahman <>; Firoze Khan <>; mirahmadf <>; Mir Karim <>; nnasrin11 <>; Shahadat Hussaini <>; shahriyar alam <>; Nazda <>; Mohammed Alam <>; Shahinkhan Khan <>; m.habibullah <>; Seheli H <>; a habib <>; Munir Chowdhury <>; "" <>; Kazi Nuru <>; Ojana pothik <>; Abul Zubair <>; Rezaul Karim <>; Kazi Ullah <>; Rokeya <>; abdul momen <>; Zahirul Bhuiyan <>; Balayet Khandoker <>; alema karim <>; Aleem Bhai <>; Omtajul Haque <>; "" <>; Sajed Kamal <>; Tareque Ahmed <>; "" <>; Shafiqul Islam <>; "" <>; Milli <>; Sharif Ahmed <>; Kazi Belal Shahjahan <>; Mizanur Rahman <>; Sohrab Khan <>; "" <>; Iqbal Hassan <>; Haris Awal <>; "Kazi <Masum>" <>; Rashed Ahmed <>; Dr. M. Mohsin Ali <>; Dr.Gholam Mostofa <>; Mohammad Gani <>; "" <>
Sent: Saturday, September 21, 2013 4:35 PM

By now most people have heard about how AL and India are yet again planning to ravage and exploit Bangladesh with the threats & impacts of the Rampal Coal Power Plant to Sunderbon, to Bangladesh's air/water quality, to farmland/fisheries/livelihood and also to financial/economic health of the nation just as the Soviet had done to the buffer states Poland/Romania, just as the British East India Company had done to then India.

This anti-Bangladesh plot should send a chill to every patriotic individuals and leave them in shock and awe to see that this AwamiLeague government led by the 'nobbo' Rajakers like Gowher Rizvi, Towfiq Elahi and Hasan Mahmud, is so unperturbed and apathetic to the scopes, depth and the extent of the damages it is willing to commit in order to serve the interests of India via NTPC.  

The AL government seems to be steam rolling the project against all the realities: against the science, against the advice of numerous field experts, against the civil society and most of all against the interest of Bangladesh and its people.  To materialize their destructive plan, the AL govt is doing everything in their power, such as distorting & demonizing any reports and data that are unfavorable, threatening the NGOs and civil groups who are against the project with Chatro League 'shontrash' and finally trivializing, marginalizing the pollution threats and damages. For, instance, of all the ministers, our Forest & Environment minister Hassan Mahmud compared the pollution threats to Sunderbon with the level of pollution as wearing every day cloths! 

Here are the mindboggling facts on Rampal Power Plant:

Original sin: During 2010 visit to India, PM Hasina had promised to reward India for its 'bagful of campaign cash' with a project called Rampal Coal Power Plant in which India's state power company NTPC will have a 50% ownership with only 15% investment and most of the costs and risks will be bore by Bangladesh.

The 1.3 GW Coal power plant with $1.5B estimated cost, has two big issues that are mind numbing:
1) Irreparable permanent damages to Environmental, Economical, Agricultural, and livelihood aspects of Bangladesh as a whole.
2) One sided joint-venture with all the liabilities & damages and majority cost on Bangladesh side and pure tax free profit and no liability on India's side. Yet it is 50-50 venture with respect to profit and ownership.

1) Environmental , economic,  land and livelihood damages and impacts to Bangladesh:

a) All environmental experts and civil groups are univocal in their assessment that this COAL power plant, just 14 km away, will cause both short and especially long term devastating and irreparable damages to our unique natural treasure, a UNESCO World Heritage site, Sundarbon.
b) This NTPC, Indian co, has had terrible track record on pollution and compliance.  The NTPC was not even allowed to setup any plants, let alone any coal based one, within 25 km of any of INDIA's forest, residential areas, and agricultural plots by Indian court in multiple instances on ground of environment damages!!!!!!
And AL govt is letting them setup COAL plants within 14 km of Sunderbon, when India itself denied them in multiple states within 25 km from their sensitive sites?  Our environment, natural resources do not mean anything? It's okay to subject our natural resources to harmful pollution when the same is not okay in India?

c) The environmental impact assessment (EIA) report, prepared by the government, has treated the Sundarbon as a residential area instead of as an ecologically critical and sensitive area in an attempt to justify the project, sources said "The ECR allows concentration of 16-51 micrograms of nitrogen dioxide and sulphur in the air, but the emission standards set for an ecologically sensitive area is 30 micrograms per cubic metre, both for SO2 and NO2. This is simply cheating. The government has done an unethical job," economist and political activist Prof. Anu Muhammad told The Independent.

Dr. Abdul Matin, general secretary of BAPA, said the proposed coal-fed power plant would emit about 142 tonnes of toxic sulphur dioxide and 85 tonnes of toxic nitrogen dioxide everyday. He alleged the EIA report did not project the actual emission level to obtain approval.

d) Land & Regional Damages :
-Is Bangladesh's land so cheap and abundant?  The Rampal plant joint venture has taken out about 2000 acres of land next to Sundarbon whereas for the same type of 1.3GW power plant NTPC had proposed in Chattisgarh, India for about 792 acres!!!!! How come same type of project requires 1/3 of land in India than what it requires in Bangladesh? 
-The 1,834 acres of land for Rampla Power Plant, significantly consists of farming lands, fisheries and habitations of the population. Over 95 per cent of the allocated land is capable of being harvested thrice a year that every year produced 1,285 tonnes of rice and 561.41 metric tonnes of fish. Over 8,000 families are permanent residents of the allocated land and among them 7,500 families live on farming and fisheries. The Rampal plant is going to force these families off their homes and incomes.
-Even according to the EIA report of Bangladesh DoE, the 75 per cent of the 10 km area of impact is used for firming that produces 62,353 tonnes of rice and 140,461 tonnes of other crops every year. As the rivers and canals of the area of impact are connected with the mangrove forest, they produce 5,218.66 metric tonnes of fishes every year. Once the plant is established, the entire area of impact is going to be unsuitable for firming, jeopardizing the significant amount of production of crops and fishes.
- Even Govt's own DoE/EIA reports articulate that activities like site construction, dredging, discharge of chemicals due to increased maritime transports etc. will severely affect the adjacent rivers, canals and agriculture, adding to high causative likeliness of landslide in the area.

e) Coal Transportation:
During transportation and transshipment across the Sundarbon, noise, oil spillage, discharge of ballast water, dropping of coal during transshipment, which are strictly prohibited by the ECR 1997 and the IMO] conventions signed by the GOB, will need to have compliance to control the pollution-causing activities. This will significantly add financial and logistical cost on Bangladesh's site. These costs are not shared by NTPC, even though it is a 50% stake holder.

2) One sided joint-venture with all the liabilities & damages and majority cost on Bangladesh side and only tax free profit and no liability on India's side:

-India will rake in 50% profit by investing only 15% of 1.5B  cost (=  $250m).  All the land cost, rehabilitation cost, loss of crops, fisheries etc cost, environmental damages cost etc. are not monetized and shared but will be bared by Bangladesh.  Is $250m of Indian money worth turning Bangladesh upside down? Bangladesh may have dozens of local co who can come up with $250. 

-The 70% setup cost from buider's credit will make the project highly expensive as the builder will charge high interests, almost double at least, compared to WB/JICA/ADB loans. These high building costs will surely be transferred to every citizen's and businesses electric bill causing them to pay higher rate so that Indian NTPC can make huge profits.

-Contract has been signed to waive all taxes that NTPC will reap from this deal.  Based on what law and ground govt can waive taxes at whim? How's it fair that Bangladeshi company pay tax yet Indian co does not have to pay tax?  

-The millions of tons of dirty polluted Coals will cause millions of extra cost for Bangladesh with respect to
  - Yearly dredging of canals to transport coals
-Maintaining of air, soil, water quality for compliance and for controlling pollution.
These costs are not included in the cost/profit model of the joint venture. 

Business model:
-The agreement already declares purchase of coal at a price of $145, which would force PDB to buy the produce power at a price of not less than Tk.8.85. If we benchmark this price with PDB's already underway domestic coal based power deals- the prices of proposed plants in Dhaka's Maowa, Chittagong's Anwara and Khulna's Labanchara are Tk.4, Tk.3.8 and Tk.3.8 respectively. The price for the proposed Rampal plant is here found to be DOUBLE  of the benchmarked ones!!!!!
-The only way to curb the direct public impact of this high price is government subsidies. This eventually means that Bangladesh is eventually going to make losses from Rampal and the only involved party opportune to make profits from this project is the Indian NTPC. So, even if they disregard the environmental issues, it was an imperative for the DoE to evaluate the profitability of the project and discover its infeasibility.

-World trend is totally against the coal power plant:- 
China in spite of having deep pocket to tackle air pollution, it is closing down all of   its coal power plants in effort to clean up air pollution from the cities. US's EPA is passing regulation to make coal power plant virtually financially impossible to build.  How can Bangladesh expect to do better, given Indian power company's dirty track record and the fact that the Indian power company will be running the plant? Are we to just trust them they will maintain the high air/water quality inside Bangladesh?  Why would they do that if they can get away with it? Aren't we being naïve to trust NTPC, a foreign co, to do all pollution compliances when polluting is financially less costly or morally not bounded since BD is not their country?

So why not SOLAR?:
By late 2011, the fully loaded cost for solar plant was predicted to fall below $0.10/kWh in sunnier regions. RAMPAL average cost =~ 8 taka/unit. = $0.1/unit.
The cost per MW for Solar power ~approximately $ 1.5 Million which is exactly what the govt is forcasting to pay for Rampal.  So why not SOLAR?  With Solar, there will not be all the environmental & local damages that come with Coal. 

The question is with so much high cost of the project itself, with  so much risks and harms to our environments-air, water, forest, and to our people's health and with so much unfairness in joint-venture, is it really worth it at the end? What purpose does it serve after all these harmful effects taken into account?  Who is driving it? Who is making money off it? For the time being NTPC and local Orion group are guaranteed to makes millions of dollar for sure. The local opportunist Orion group has already signed contract for importing all the coals (> 1 million tons/year).  
Most of the data and information are collected from various credible public reports readily available on the net.

রাখাল বন্ধু 


Rehana Rahman
617.218.7564 Cell

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