Friday, October 5, 2007

Govt to consider renegotiation with Asia Energy after coal policy finalised

NewAge, October 5, 2007

Energy adviser Tapan Chowdhury on Thursday said that the government would decide whether to renegotiate the controversial Phulbari coal-field agreement with Asia Energy after the coal policy is finalised. ‘Asia Energy has requested renegotiation on the Phulbari agreement and has softened its position. It has proposed some nice things. It wants to set up a power plant, and supply the water that will extracted from the coal-mine to the adjacent villages,’ Tapan told reporters after a meeting with an Asian Development Bank delegation.

The visiting director-general of ADB’s South Asia Department, Kurio Senga, offered to extend all kinds of financial assistance in developing Bangladesh’s coal sector, including the Phulbari coal-mine. He asked the government to take a quick decision on Asia Energy’s plan to develop the Phulbari coal-mine and the Tata Group’s investment proposal.

Tapan told reporters that he had assured the ADB delegation that the government would take a decision on Asia Energy’s development plan after finalisation of the coal policy. When Senga was asked whether he was aware of the government’s agreement with the people of Phulbari to scrap the coal-field deal, he replied in the negative.

The government signed an agreement with protesters to scrap the deal with Asia Energy after the killing of three persons by law enforcers while they were protesting against the open-pit mining method proposed by Asia Energy last year.

Tapan said that they would take a decision on the issue after getting the law ministry’s opinion on the agreement.