The International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) has just recommended putting Sundarbans in the list of “natural sites in danger”. It is the world’s largest mangrove forest spread across the border of India and Bangladesh and a home to the Royal Bengal tiger and over 260 bird species.
At the centre of IUCN’s concern is the 1,320 Mw Rampal imported coal-based power project planned to be set up 65-Kilometer from the site. The project – also known as Maitree Super Thermal Power Project – would be Bangladesh’ largest and is being developed by a joint venture between India’s NTPC and Bangladesh Power Development Board.
IUCN has said in its recommendation to the UNESCO’s World Heritage Committee that little progress has been achieved to address some significant threats to Sundarbans, stating that despite the Committee’s requests, no serious consideration was given to possible alternatives to the construction of the Rampal power plant, and its construction is progressing.