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Banshkhali coal-based plant fails to get environmental clearance

The much talked about 1,224 megawatt Banshkhali coal-based power plant project of S Alam group has failed to get environmental clearance certificate.

The Department of Environment (DoE) which has the responsibility to issue such certificate, refused to give one in its 369th meeting on environmental clearance certificate to this the imported coal-fired power plant in Banshkhali, Chittagong, revealed the meeting minutes on April 28.

The DoE meeting was presided by Sultan Ahmed, director and convener of the environmental clearance certificate committee.

The DoE meeting minutes said that S Alam group was asked to revise its environmental impact assessment report (EIA) for the project.

The revised report must have signature and seal from the high officials of S Alam group in each page. It must also contain other necessary supporting documents.

An official from DoE told energynewsbd.com that we are planning to add more conditions to S Alam group for getting the environmental clearance certificate.

As there has been some controversy centering on the project, the DoE now prefers to take ‘slow-on policy’ on the project so that in future, there will be no pressure on them.

That is why we will meticulously look into everything before issuing their clearance certificate, asserted the DoE official adding that it might take a lot more time for the final issuance.

Meanwhile, experts and industry stakeholders believe that upon failure to get environmental clearance certificate, the construction of this controversial power plant has faced another road block in its implementation.

It is to be noted that on April 4, four people have been killed in a clash between police and two groups of villagers over the issue of construction of this coal-based power plant in Banshkhali.

After that, the Committee to Protect Homestead and Graveyard of Gondamara at Banshkhali upazila in Chittagong on April 26 staged a rally again on West Gondamara Primary School premises protesting the move to construct a coal-fired power plant by a local conglomerate S Alam Group.

Officials concerned from the Power Division feared that as in the meantime, the protesters have declared fresh new protest agenda, the plant might not be implemented there at all.

An official with the Power Division who preferred anonymity told energynewsbd.com that this project of S Alam has appeared as a hindrance against the implementation of other government project.

On February 16, a joint venture of Bangladesh’s S Alam Group, and China’s SEPCO-3 Electric Power Construction Corporation and HTG Group signed contract for building the ultra super critical thermal power plant with a net capacity of 1,224MW at a cost of $2.4bn.

If the project failed to get environmental clearance then the implementation of this project will be delayed and this makes the implementation of the project a distant possibility, informed the power division official.

Talking with energynewsbd.com on the issue, Sultan Ahmed, DoE director said that they have found that some document and information submitted by S Alam group were missing.

"We have asked them to re-submit those,” he said.

 

 

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