Taking a swipe at those protesting the government’s move to construct coal-based power plants, Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina today said some people have a bizarre imagination about coal and coal-based power plants which have already led to the loss of a few lives, UNB reports.
“Some people of this country have a bizarre imagination. I don’t know how this crosses their minds, but some lives have been lost unnecessarily for such imaginary talks. I have no idea what the motive behind this is,” she said pointing to a recent incident taken place in Banshkhali, Chittagong that left 4 people dead. Hasina said this while inaugurating the newly-constructed Dhaka Central Jail in Keraniganj, on the outskirts of the capital with better facilities for inmates.
She said a section of people these days come up to protest in the name of protecting the environment while the government wants to produce more electricity through constructing power plants. “You’ve already seen that this section of people won’t allow the construction of the coal-based power plants (in the country).”
Hasina said the government has brought public relief by producing enough electricity at the quickest possible time. “Now there’s a move to resist that production. But, this power production is needed for our development.”
During the Awami League government’s first tenure (1996-2001), she mentioned, it laid the foundation of coal-based power plants in Dinajpur and now there are two coal-based power plants there. “The construction works for the third one is going on there.” She also mentioned that there has been no adverse effect on the environment in that area, as paddy, trees are growing naturally while people are living their normal life.
Referring to the recent capsize of a coal-laden cargo vessel in a river of the country that triggered huge outcry over water pollution, the premier wondered she is not sure how much this is true scientifically.
During her childhood, Hasina recalled, there was a water filter at their home and the first layer of that filter was filled with coal. “We used to pour water into that coal-filled layer first, then the water used to go through the sand-filled layer and after that we used to drink that filtered water. We know coal also purifies water. Such water filter is available in rural areas,” she said.
If the coal-filled filter can purify drinking water, then how can the submerged coal pollute the river water, she questioned adding that some people say there will be acid rain if there is a coal-based power plant. “What an imaginary thinking!” she quipped. Hasina said there are coal-based power plants around the world, including Oxford.
Home Minister Asaduzzaman Khan, Home Affairs secretary Dr Md Mozammel Haque Khan and Inspector General of Prisons Brig Gen Syed Iftekhar Uddin also spoke at the programme.