Catalina von Hildebrand, firstname.lastname@example.org, +31-24-3249220
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BankTrack this week sent letters to all major shareholders of the Indian National Thermal Power Corporation (NTPC) appealing to them to use their influence to urge the company to withdraw from the highly destructive Rampal coal power plant in Bangladesh. The plant threatens the world's largest mangrove forest, the Sundarbans.
NTPC, which is majority-owned by the Indian state, is building the plant together with the Bangladesh Power Development Board (BPDB), forming a joint venture called the Bangladesh-India Friendship Power Company (BIFPCL).
The 1,320 megawatt Rampal coal power plant is situated just 14 kilometers away from the world-renowned Sundarbans forest, a recognized UNESCO World Heritage site that is not only home to unique animal species such as the Bengal tiger and the Irrawaddy and Ganges dolphin, but which also provides livelihoods to hundreds of thousands of people living in and around the wetland area. The coal plant would also emit more than 7.9 million tons of CO2 annually for 25 years, taking a heavy toll on the climate.
The plant is already under construction and instances of human right violations as well as corruption have been observed. In addition, building a power plant this close to an ecologically sensitive area would be illegal if the plant were to be built in India.
All these issues have stirred ongoing local and national opposition to the project, with growing international support. The appeal to NTPC shareholders comes in addition to a global coalition of 131 civil society groups and over 60,000 individuals calling on the Export-Import Bank of India to abandon its financing plans for the construction of the Rampal coal power plant.
Catalina von Hildebrand, Climate and Energy Campaigner at BankTrack, commented: "This project makes a mockery of NTPCs sustainability ambitions and commitments as it will bring huge biodiversity loss and harm to the unique biosphere of the Sundarbans. But there is still time to put a stop to it. It is in the interest of the shareholders of NTPC to persuade NTCP that a project as destructive as Rampal should have no place in the power portfolio of NTPC."