The Bangladesh government’s decision to set up the Rampal coal-fired power plant in the periphery of the Sundarbans, resulted in intense protests from activists within the country, and from international organisations, including the United Nations. But the plant — a joint venture between the Indian and Bangladeshi state-run power corporations — has hardly evoked any reaction from Indians, despite it threatening the survival of the Sundarbans.
While Bangladesh owns 60 percent of the forested delta, India retains the rest of it. The mangrove forest is the largest in the world, and is home to several endangered species such as the Royal Bengal tiger and the Irrawady dolphins.
In a letter to the UNESCO, made public on 3 July, an alliance of international NGOs including National Committee for Saving the Sundarbans (NCSS) from Bangladesh, US-based Earthjustice and Waterkeeper Alliance wrote: “The development of coal infrastructures in the Sundarbans would not only exacerbate climate change and its impacts, but also send a wrong message that coal is still an energy option for developing countries whereas the world is moving towards a consensus on the need to immediately phase out coal.”