The government panel to assess a suitable coal extraction method has, evidently, suggested open-cut method for Phulbari mine and review of a previous proposal by a multinational company citing many reasons to establish the opinion.
The news was published first on Saturday by The Daily Star, which has been questioned for its pro-government role in the energy sector (not publishing news that goes against the government’s decisions in this sector).
Well, this suggestion must have come this way, to favour US-UK giant GCM plc (formerly Asia Energy), which in 2006 was about to start extracting coal from Phulbari in an open-pit method as per their proposal and contract with the previous BNP-Jamaat government.
They were forced to stop activities in late August in the face of mass protests.
The concerned people of Bangladesh now will again resist the govt’s favouring GCM desperately to award the Phulbari coal mine.
The present prime minister on September 4, 2006 told an agitating Phulbari people that if voted to power, Asia Energy will be driven away from Bangladesh and there will be no ‘open-pit mining’ ever in this country.
It’s a reliable rumour that she has taken Tk 200 crore to award GCM the project.
Meanwhile, WikiLeaks revealed last year that former US ambassador in 2009 had pressed PM’s energy advisor to favour GCM and Chevron.
In the process to allow GCM, advisor Tawfique-e-Elahi Chowdhury assured ambassador Moriarty that the government would even take the parliamentary assistance to wage public consensus for open-pit mining.
And he has done it; the government has engaged the parliamentary standing committee on energy ministry which visited a German open-pit mine to say boldly for this method. And they did after their return. The Awami League MPs were outspoken for this scheme at parliament too disregarding the previous disputes and the PM’s commitments.
Some journalists were also taken to a pleasure trip and have been given money to write in favour of the method.
It’s all politics and business! But they would not be able to materialise their evil intention since people will resist.
A UN experts’ team has recently warned that the scheme would seriously be a harmful one.
Note: The prime minister should have given a statement for her not keeping the words she had made before thousands of people before altering her words.
Three protesters had died before she went to Phulbari and the government was compelled to sign an agreement with the protesters assuring that Asia Energy would wrap up activities from Bangladesh and no open-pit mining will be conducted, among meeting other demands.
However, Asia Energy never stopped its work, negotiations and bribing the government so that its contract would not be scrapped, thus allowing GCM plc to continue trading at the London stock market.
I condemn such politics and business!