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Activists from 21 nations ask China to end financing Bangladesh coal power project

Activists from 21 countries have shot a letter to China and asked the nation to end the financing of a coal-fired power plant in Bangladesh

Jun 26, 2021
Banshkhali S. Alam

Activists from 21 countries have shot a letter to China and asked the nation to end the financing of a coal-fired power plant in Bangladesh.

In the letter, the activists mentioned that  Beijing had notified Dhaka in February that it would no longer support highly polluting projects.

In 2016, Bangladesh approved the majority-Chinese funded Banshkhali S. Alam project, which has been controversial from the start, with allegations of undue force by police against protesters, and wage and labor issues, said IBNS quoting Radio Free Asia.

“In February 2021, the Economic and Commercial Counselor of China in Bangladesh sent a letter to the Bangladesh Ministry of Finance stating that ‘the Chinese side shall no longer consider projects with high pollution and high energy consumption, such as coal mining and coal-fired power stations,’” the activists wrote in the letter signed by Hasan Mehedi, member secretary of the Bangladesh Working Group on External Debt (BWGED) as quoted by the news portal.

The activists’ letter noted that China’s President Xi Jinping had called to “pursue open, green and clean cooperation” in a speech at the second Belt and Road Forum in 2019.

The activists also mentioned the controversial nature of the project.

“Since the beginning of the project in 2016, 12 people have lost their lives, more than 100 got injured and harassment cases have been filed against over 6,000 workers and villagers in three different incidents around this power plant,” the letter said.

“Local people consider the project a curse for themselves as not only lives were lost but at least 10,000 people have been affected by the losses of homesteads and farmland because of this project," read the letter.

The letter was reportedly signed by 129 activists from 74 organizations.

It was mailed to Chinese commerce minister Wang Wentao.

The Banshkhali S. Alam project is likely to start producing 1,320 MW of power by 2023.

China financed 70 percent of the U.S. $2.49 billion cost of the project, according to information on S. Alam Group’s website as quoted by RFA. (SAM)

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