Saturday, April 09, 2011

Bangladeshi Coal - America Dirty

Energy at What Cost? Protests Against Forced Eviction from US-Backed Coal Mine Continue in Bangladesh
by Kate Hoshour and Christine Shearer
8 April 2011

As the sun rose on March 28, 2011, roughly 2,000 people gathered to demonstrate against a mining project that would displace tens of thousands of people in northwest Bangladesh and establish one of the largest open pit coal mines in the world.

Located in an agricultural region that is home to thousands of farming and indigenous families, the Phulbari Coal Project has been fiercely opposed by Bangladeshi citizens for over six years. Regardless, the UK-based company pursuing the project, Global Coal Management Resources, or GCM (formerly the Asia Energy Corporation), is expressing confidence that the mine will go forward.

In their most recent action to halt the project, protestors enforced a six-hour blockade of Bangladesh's railways and highways that began at 6 AM, reportedly forcing railway authorities to reschedule seven intercity trains and disrupting roads between the northwestern district of Dinajpur and other parts of the country.

In Phulbari, educational and business institutions reportedly remained closed during the blockade.

The demonstrators built on a demand made exactly one month ago: for the government to halt the mine and expel GCM Resources from the country. This time, they said, they will allow 15 days for their demands to be met.

Responding to announcements of the protest, police and members of the Rapid Action Battalion (RAB) were deployed in advance to guard GCM's office, the Phulbari railway station and other key establishments.

RAB, set up as an elite anticrime and antiterrorism force, has become notorious for what several human rights groups describe as the routine use of torture and an alarming number of extrajudicial killings that occur in RAB custody.

Although RAB has been denounced by Human Rights Watch as a "government death squad," diplomatic cables released by WikiLeaks in 2010 revealed that the UK has provided support to RAB, including training in "investigative interviewing techniques" and "rules of engagement."

The Phulbari Coal Project is now at a critical juncture. It was stalled in the planning phase when political instability in the country and widespread protests led to the imposition of emergency rule in Bangladesh in 2007. Following national elections in 2008, a new administration began actively reconsidering the mine.

The recent release of another WikiLeaks cable shows that the US has been exerting diplomatic pressure for the project's approval, citing US corporate interests.

Forced Eviction on a Massive Scale

According to GCM's project plans, the Phulbari coal mine would have a lifespan of at least 36 years and extract 16 million tons of coal annually at peak production. Of this, three million tons would be used for domestic energy consumption, with the construction of at least one 500 megawatt coal-fired electricity plant. The remaining coal would be exported.

The project's draft resettlement plan calls for the open pit mine and associated infrastructure to acquire nearly 6,000 hectares of land.

Estimates of the number of people who would be evicted from their homes and lands in order to make way for the immense mega-project vary widely and are disputed. more truthout

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

A CRIME COMMITTING SYNDICATE led by self-proclaimed Matabars Sheeru, Shalluddin, & Momin also Monir Uddin Ahmed an influential member of the syndicate backed by his brother-in-law Lt. Col. Rashidul Alom RAB-1 Co is an insulator of crime and an ally of injustice for them all not for free though, involving in land grabbing, lake filling, harboring creating criminals, selling drugs, bribery blackmailing, prostitution, vandalizing, extortion, loan-sharking, encouraging building code violation, oppressing, attacking and ruining a renowned family…. been inhumanly persecuting us for 7 dissipated long years, satanically violating our human rights indiscriminately by keeping us from earning a living, stopping our source of income, garbling our land records, keeping us under watch round the clock, bringing mobs on hire to scare abuse us ruining our social status calling us insane to take away our credibility, not allowing and allowed other to mix with us, throwing full-sized bricks onto our tin rooftop like hailstorm, stopping our water supply, poisoning 6 of our pet dogs in a row, distorting the post mortem reports, bugging our phones, and many more…. to various departments we went to for assistance to no succor obviously Lt. Col. Rashid hampered its operation deactivating. Even phoning up to have the transgressors released from police/rab custody. Such a fatal phase we were tortured to undergo that dmp police commissioner commanded police protection for us round the clock for over 6months.

Self-proclaimed Matabars: Sheeru, Shalluddin & Momin are infamously known as “Khal Chottas”, specializing in Lake/Land/Home Grabbing, combining with Cheat & Forgery based ingenious documentation…ref: a Banner headline made by The Daily Ittefaq dated 12&13 March 2010 “Khal Dakhal Kore Dalan Kotha… Rajdhanir Ulune ek kilometer khaler naam nishana muche geche khamatadhor shatadhik bahutol bhaban maliker beparwa thabai…sthaniyora obhijog karen ulon khaler shotkora trish bhagh jomi jabar dakhal kore niyeche matbar paribar….”