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22 Jun 2021

The Daily Star (Bangladesh)

Bangladesh: 129 individuals and 74 organisations demand stop to Banshkhali Coal Power Plant in letter to Chinese Minister of Commerce

"129 individuals, 74 orgs demand stop to Banshkhali Coal Power Plant project", 22 June 2021

One hundred twenty-nine individuals and 74 organisations from 21 countries including Bangladesh wrote a letter to Chinese Minister of Commerce Wang Wentao calling upon him to withdraw and end provision of finance and technical support to the SS Power I Ltd (Banshkhali Power Plant) immediately in Chattogram.

They also urged all companies involved to withdraw support from the project. [...]

Terming the project "A Blood-coloured BRI project", the personalities and organisations said, "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 project has been marred by lack of transparency, irregularities and rampant human rights violation since its inception. Lead sponsor S Alam group evicted thousands of local residents and they were not paid a single penny for their land. Those who refused to give up their land were harassed with fake lawsuits. S Alam acquired several times more land than the actual 640 acres of project area using their muscle and mobsters," the letter said. [...]

The signatories demand the Chinese minister to get aligned with those Chinese measures for foreign investment, and respond to their following demands:

  • Withdraw all involvement of your institution from the Banshkhali coal power project.
  • Investigate the issues in relation with human rights violation and erroneous Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA).
  • Ensure adequate compensation and rehabilitation of the dead and injured workers and the affected villagers.
  • Without exceptions, cancel all ongoing and future investments in fossil fuel including coal, oil and gas.

Part of the following timelines

Bangladesh: Workers protesting low wages shot dead by police at power plant

Bangladesh: Civil society demands stop to Banshkhali Coal Power Plant in letter to Chinese Minister of Commerce

China's commitment to phase out overseas coal investment