The National Committee to Protect Sundarbans today expressed doubt over the report on the Sundarbans that the UNESCO is about to prepare based on their recent visit to the largest mangrove forest. The UNESCO mission had scheduled to meet environment activists but could not sit with them due to unwillingness of the government, said Sultana Kamal, the committee’s convener. The Unesco team has completed their visit and received only the government’s explanation and assessment as environment activists and experts who are dealing with the protection of the Sundarbans for long were not given the chance to meet the team, the convener said. Hence, we won’t be surprised if the probable report is incomplete and one-sided, she said while speaking at a press conference at Dhaka Reporters’ Unity. However, she hoped that the UN team members will be much cautious in preparing the report. She not only demanded immediate postponement of the proposed coal-based Rampal Power Plant but also for ensuring accurate and neutral report by the UN body on its possible impact on the mangrove forest. In her speech, Sultana Kamal presented several other demands including withdrawal of all projects near the Sundarbans. On March 24, a high-profile UNESCO delegation visited the Sundarbans to assess the possible impacts of the proposed Rampal power plant and plying of vessels through the Sundarbans. The mangrove forest is situated about 14 kilometers away from the proposed 1,320-megawatt coal-based power plant site. However, the peripheral area of the forest begins within four kilometers from the power plant.
2016 / thedailystar.net