Rampal plant feared to hamper shrimp industryAhmed Shawki
The proposed 1,320-megawatt Rampal power plant near the Sundarbans will expose the country’s multi-million dollar shrimp industry to serious threat as the core shrimp culture is based in the area, said experts and stockholders.
They said although the department of environment approved the environment impact assessment report of the coal-based power plant, but the shrimp industry will face severe negative impact.
‘The Sundarbans area hosts the black tiger shrimp which is a major export product. If the government allows the Rampal power plant, it will damage the natural environment of the area and living place of black tiger,’ Bangladesh Shrimp and Fish Foundation chairman Syed Mahmudul Huq told New Age.
He said shrimp is already suffering from a number of problems because of lack of government support.
‘In such a situation, if the natural system of Sundarbans faces any imbalance because of the power plant then the entire industry will be destroyed,’ he said.
Bangladesh-India Friendship Power Company, a joint venture between the PDB and the NTPC with 50:50 shares, is implementing the power project at Rampal in Bagerhat district near the Sundarbans.
The environment department last month gave green signal to the power plant which was highly criticised by the environmentalists and civil society.
Several businessmen engaged to shrimp production and processing expressed their concern to New Age but denied to comment because of the sensitivity of the issue.
‘This is very threatening for our industry. In Sundarbans we culture the shrimp as the water condition of the area supports it perfectly. Now, if the power plant is established the natural balance of the entire area will be at risk and so the production of shrimps,’ said one businessman.
Asked about the risk of shrimp culture because of the power plant, fisheries experts said there were some points of concern on the issue.
‘Any plant can harm the natural environment if the waste disposal measures are not accurate. In this case, I don’t know the measurements precisely, so it is difficult to comment,’ Dhaka University fisheries department associate professor Md Mamun Chowdhury told New Age.
‘For example, the power plant intakes huge amount of water. When those are discharged after use, the tem
perature rises than usual. If the plant cannot
manage to release water
in regular temperature then it could possibly becomes an issue of concern,’ he said.
Another DU professor unwilling to be named, said that the Rampal power plant will definitely affect the fisheries of the entire area.
‘There is no chance of avoiding the pollution of the area if the power plant comes into function. The natural balance of the entire Sundarbans will be at risk,’ he said.
In the first month of the current financial year 2013–14, overall shrimp export increased by 33.91 per cent from that of July 2012, according to Export Promotion Bureau data.
Shrimp exporters also exceeded export target by 33.40 per cent in July as they exported shrimp worth $56.55 million against the target of $42.23 million for the month, the data showed.
In the last FY, shrimp export fell short of around $90 million because of price fluctuation on the international market, exporters said. Bangladesh exported shrimp worth $454.43
million against the target
of 545.23 million for the year.
Bangladeshi businessmen recently became hopeful about the industry after the US imposed additional duties on Bangladesh’s competitor countries.
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The proposed 1,320-megawatt Rampal power plant near the Sundarbans will expose the country’s multi-million dollar shrimp industry to serious threat as the core shrimp culture is based in the area, said experts and stockholders. They said although the department of environment.. Full story
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