If the government had cancelled 10 coal-fired power plants out of concern for the environment, the Rampal Power Plant should have been cancelled first because it would cause the most damage to the environment and the Sundarbans.
"The government has cancelled 10 coal-fired power projects, and many more will be cancelled in the future. This is the inevitable future," said Anu Muhammad, member secretary of the National Committee to Protect Oil, Gas, Mineral Resources, Power and Ports, at a virtual press conference on Monday in response to the recent announcement of the cancellation of 10 coal-based power projects by the government.
The projects that have been scrapped are either not being financed by foreign investors, or the sponsoring companies are moving away. According to The Economist, the financial, environmental and health risks of coal-based electricity are the highest. That is why global financial institutions and states are turning away from coal power, he added.
Anu Muhammad further said that without Rampal, the list of cancellations should have been first on the Banshkhali in Chattogram and the Matarbari Power Plant (first phase) funded by Japan. There are questions about the environmental impact survey of the Banshkhali power plant. Many people sacrificed their lives during the protest against this plant. These should have been cancelled first.
LNG lobbyists have become much more active now as coal-power has become obsolete. Therefore, the government is much keener to benefit foreign LNG traders by stopping the discovery and extraction of domestic gas and not prioritising renewable energy, he said.
Syeda Rizwana Hasan, chief executive of the Bangladesh Environmental Lawyers Association, praised the government's decision and said the government had finally realised that it needed to move away from polluting coal-based power. They deserve thanks for that.
"However, domestic and foreign climate activists have been agitating on this issue for a long time. But just to patronise institutions like S Alam's group, the government has spared a blood-soaked project like Banshkhali, which is unfortunate. Banshkhali power plant should be cancelled like 10 cancelled projects," she added.