[Dhaka Correspondent] National Committee to Protect Oil, Gas, Mineral Resources, Power and Port Saturday protested ADB’s (Asian Development Bank) role as corporate lobbyist for Asia Energy and Tata Group. It also blasted energy and finance advisers to the government for their reported willingness to start stalled negotiations with Asia Energy on Phulbari coal field.
“We are concerned and annoyed at media reports that a visiting ADB mission is lobbying and pressurising the government in favor of Asia Energy and Tata group’s projects,” professor Anu Muhammad, member secretary of the committee, said at a press conference in Dhaka.
“The ADB board is yet to approve the Asia Energy project. ADB officials are lobbying for the Asia Energy venture even before the Manila-based lender’s board is yet to approve the project, which was being framed in violation of ADB guidelines for public consultation, dissemination of information, protection of environment and respect for peoples’ verdict,” he said.
Anu questioned why two advisers of the government were searching for opportunity to renegotiate with the UK-based mining company. He alleged that ADB was planning to invest the member-states’ money to benefit some companies, not the people. He warned if the government rejected the agreement the previous government signed to scrap the corruption-ridden deal with Asia Energy, the interim government would be betraying the people.
He requested an advisory committee, which was finalizing the draft coal policy, to reject the open pit mining method.
Committee convener Sheikh Muhammad Shahidullah said people will not accept if the government accepts Tata’s proposals and requirements of huge quantity of gas when the country’s gas reserve was depleting fast and country’s power and fertilizer plants and industries were facing gas shortage.
National committee leaders Golam Rabbani, Akmal Hossain, Shamsul Alam, Tipu Biswas, Ruhin Hossain Prince and Zonayed Saki were present at the press conference.