Speakers at a “Human Demonstration” on Saturday have demanded the government put more focus on renewable energy’s development saying that the fossil fuel-based power plants are destroying the envi-ronment and violating human rights.
They also observed that the local population is suffering due to the acquisition of land for the establish-ment of power plants while the working laborers are also deprived of their human rights in various ways in these projects.
To mark the International Human Rights Day 2023, the event was jointly organized by non-governmental development organization ISDE Bangladesh, Consumers Association of Bangladesh (CAB) Youth Group, BWGED (Bangladesh Working Group for Ecology and Development, Clean (Coastal Livelihood and Environmental Action Network) at the historic CRB premises in Chattogram on Saturday.
CAB central vice president SM Najer Hossain, Joint Secretary of District Social Entrepreneurship Coun-cil, Mohammad Jane Alam, CAB leaders Shaheen Chowdhury, Harun Gafur Bhuiyaa, Abu Hanif Noman, Tania Sultana, Mohammad Raihan, Niloy Biswas, and Abrarul Karim Nehal.
The speakers demanded an end to human rights violations in the energy sector and developing renewable energy to be owned by local communities.
They said local landowners are being cheated by middlemen in acquisition. Many families are displaced due to illegal land acquisition and many, including farmers and fishermen, are forced to change their occupation which is a clear violation of human rights.
They alleged that the biggest example of violating the human rights of workers in the power sector was Chattogram Banskhali power plant.
From 2016 to 2021, 12 people were killed by the police while protesting for various demands, including payment of outstanding wages to coal-based power plant workers owned by S Alam Group and China’s Sepco and HTG Group.
Also the working environment of the power plant is not at all favorable. They have to work in the power plant with their own protective equipment; local workers are given only first aid in case of injury.
The speakers also said that 50.4 percent of Bangladeshi women are engaged in domestic work and agri-culture.
According to local culture, women are directly engaged in cooking, caring for children and family members. They consume the maximum amount of fuel for household needs. But energy planning, im-plementation and distribution have nowhere to involve them.
With only 2-4 percent of land owned by women, women’s participation in power plant ownership, access to information and consultation is neglected, the speakers said.