The leaders of the National Committee to Protect Oil-Gas-Natural Resources and Power and Port on Monday alleged the ruling Awami League government tried to influence the decision of the UNESCO over the construction of Rampal coal-fired power plant in the vicinity of the Sundarbans.

“The government has tried to influence the UNESCO, spending people’s money,” says a statement issued jointly by the National Committee’s convener Engineer Sheikh Muhammad Shahidullah and member secretary Anu Muhammad. The statement comes following the prime minister’s energy affairs adviser Tawfiq-e-Elahi Chowdhury’s words regarding the Rampal project.

The statement also alleged that the government is showing stubbornness, telling lies and taking resort to fraudulence about the project - a joint initiative of Bangladesh and India.

Tawfiq on Monday said the government will continue the construction work of the Rampal coal-fired power plant.

Addressing a press conference at Bidyut Bhaban in the capital, Tawfiq claimed that the UNESCO decision puts no bar on continuation of the construction work.

He, however, said if the strategic environmental assessment (SEA) reveals any negative impact of Rampal project on the Sundarbans, the government would take measures to mitigate it.

According to his claim, the UNESCO in its draft decision had said no big industrial unit including Rampal coal-fired power plant should be set up around the Sundarbans, but it later dropped the name of Rampal power plant in its final report.