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26 September, 2016 00:00 00 AM
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Publicity blitzkreig for Rampal project planned

The Power Division will spend Tk 5 crore for TV commercials, seminar and social media campaign to explain the project merits
SHAHED SIDDIQUE

To justify the necessity of the Rampal power station near the Sundarbans and to rebut its critics, the government has decided to go on a campaign blitzkrieg. The Power Division will spend Tk. 5 crore for TV commercials, seminar and social media campaign to explain the merits of the project.
“Anti-Rampal activists are seriously damaging the government’s reputation. We can’t sit idle at this moment. People will be able to understand the importance of this mega project after the campaign,” Nasrul Hamid Bipu, state minister for the power and energy ministry, told The Independent yesterday.
Mohammed Hossan, director general of the power cell, told this correspondent that they started a massive campaign on this issue last week and created a Tk. 5-crore fund for this purpose.
Sources said the power cell would coordinate the matter and handle the media to highlight the advantages of the project. The power department is determined to give a fitting reply to “Tal-Gas –Bondor-Biddyut Rakkha Jatiyo committee (TGBBRC)” and “Sundarbans Rakkha committee (SRC)”, they added.
The TGBBRC and SRC have been campaigning that the 1320-MW coal-fired power plant will damage the Sundarbans’ ecology and biodiversity.
The government has already roped in two leading advertising firms—Gray and Dhanshiri—to counter the claims made by the two protest groups against the proposed power plant. These two firms will make documentaries and TV commercials explaining the merits of the project.
A TV commercial—Sundorbon Sundor thakuk , Bangladesh agia jak (Let Sundarban remain beautiful and let  Bangladesh go ahead)—in this regard has already been made. Shami Kaiser, owner of the Dhanshiri, said, “We've made two documentaries for this project. The first documentary explains why that location has been chosen. The second one explains that we can mitigate the emission from the plant by installing an ultrasuper technology.”
“Before making the documentaries, I’ve gone through various books and journals on the issue. I’m convinced that if we apply ultrasuper technology, the Sundarbans won’t be affected,” he added. Sources said more TV commercials on the project will be telecast. Mir Mohammed Aslam Uddin, senior information officer of the power ministry, however, declined to make any comment on the matter.          
Dr Anu Mohammed, Member secretary of the Tal Gas Rakkha committee, told The Independent, “The government must not set up any coal-fired power plant near the Sundarbans. Moreover, it’s hiring ad agencies to campaign in favour of the project. I’d request the government not to misuse people’s money and cancel the project, as has been recommended by UNESCO recently.”           
The proposed 1320-MW coal-fired power plant is located in Rampal Upazila of Bagerhat district in Khulna. It is a joint partnership between  India’s National Thermal Power Corporation and the Bangladesh Power Development Board. The joint venture company is known as the Bangladesh India Friendship Power Company (BIFPC). The proposed project, spreading over 1834 acres, is just four km north of the Sundarbans, a UNESCO world heritage site. Once completed, it will be one of the largest power plants in the country.

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Editor : M. Shamsur Rahman

Published by the Editor on behalf of Independent Publications Limited at Media Printers, 446/H, Tejgaon I/A, Dhaka-1215.
Editorial, News & Commercial Offices : Beximco Media Complex, 149-150 Tejgaon I/A, Dhaka-1208, Bangladesh. GPO Box No. 934, Dhaka-1000.

Editor : M. Shamsur Rahman
Published by the Editor on behalf of Independent Publications Limited at Media Printers, 446/H, Tejgaon I/A, Dhaka-1215.
Editorial, News & Commercial Offices : Beximco Media Complex, 149-150 Tejgaon I/A, Dhaka-1208, Bangladesh. GPO Box No. 934, Dhaka-1000.

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