18 January 2019 | Sadiqur Rahman | Daily NewAge
Land owners have been evicted from the site of 307MW Barisal Coal-Fired Power Plant in Barguna allegedly without compensations and many of them have reportedly been harassed and framed in false cases for demanding compensation.
The victims submitted a petition to power, energy and mineral resources ministry on January 16 seeking remedies for their grievances.
They also petitioned the Department of Environment on January 14 for stopping the project alleging that forest was being destroyed by the project.
The victims alleged that ISO Tech Electrification Company Limited, local partner of the joint venture, evicted residents from the project site without compensations.
China-based Power China is the 96 per cent shareholder of the $540 million project.
The power plant on about 300 acres of land at Ankujan village of Taltali upazila is scheduled to be commissioned within 45 months since April 12, 2018. Bangladesh Power Development Board signed a power purchase agreement with ISO Tech amidst protests.
Farmer Sultan Sikder and his close relatives owned eight acres of land on the project site.
Sultan told New Age on Thursday that ISO Tech evicted them from their lands without compensation.
He said local agent Sohrab Zamaddar working for ISO Tech had brokered land purchase between the company and the previous landowner Mombasin Rakhain.
He added that the local agents brokered land purchase mostly based on forged land documents to cash higher commission from the company.
Sultan said that land filling continued after eviction of about 180 families without compensation.
Besides, the eviction victims were in hiding as project engineer Md Murad on July 17, 2018 filed an extortion case with Taltali police station naming six of the victims, including Sultan.
According to the case document, Sultan along with five others tried to extort Tk 30 lakh from Murad.
Sultan, however, denied the allegation saying that the ‘false’ case was filed only to harass them as they demanded compensation.
The ISO Tech managing director Md Moinul Alam’s cell phone was found switched off.
Power division secretary Ahmad Kaikaus, citing prime minister’s order, said that land for development project could not be acquired without proper compensation.
He said that an enquiry committee would be formed soon to investigate the allegations.