Power Secretary Monwar Islam on Friday told bdnews24.com the foundation stone of Maitree Super Thermal Power Project at Bagerhat’s Rampal would be unveiled at Kushtia’s Bheramara at the inauguration ceremony of power import from India.
He said Indian Prime Minister Manmohan Singh will join Hasina at the ceremony through a video call.
The government had earlier said that the ceremony would be held on Oct 22.
Asked why the rush, Secretary Islam said, “The foundations will be officially laid at Rampal on Oct 22. But the Indian Prime Minister won’t be able to attend that programme that day. That’s why the ceremony is being arranged on Saturday along with the main function at Bheramara.”
Bangladesh signed an agreement with India in January last year to set up the 1,320MW joint veture named ‘Bangladesh-India Friendship Power Company Limited’ with equal partnership.
Environmentalists, political activists, and the local people of Rampal fear the plant will endanger the very existence of the world’s largest mangrove forest, only 14 kilometres away.
The protesters have already held demonstrations against the government move and threatened to thwart the foundation stone-laying ceremony on Oct 22 if the project is not scrapped by Oct 11.
Hasina will inaugurate the Bangladesh-India Power Transmission Centre and Bheramara 360 Combined Cycle Power Plant at the same programme.
A total of 175 megawatt power from India would be added to the National Grid starting from Saturday.