Sunday 10 April 2011
Phulbari, Bangladesh - Protests Against Coal Mine Project Grow
10/04/2011 - Phulbari, Bangladesh – For the past six years, a growing concert of indigenous peoples in the northwestern part of Bangladesh have joined the protest against a planned open-pit coal mine here — what would be the largest such mine in the world.
The rich agricultural region has been inhabited and farmed by scores of tribal groups who speak unique languages and practice unique cultural traditions going back several thousand years.
The proposed 6000 hectare project is being pursued by the UK-based Global Coal Management Resources, or GCM (formerly the Asia Energy Corporation), which estimates that some 47,000 people will be re-located, with only 2,200 of those being “indigenous”.
However, according to a recent report published by Truthout.org*, independent researchers along with the Jatiya Adivasi Parishad (National Indigenous Union) estimate that 50,000 people belonging to 23 tribal groups would be evicted.
What’s more, according to the same article, a 2006 Expert Committee formed by the government of Bangladesh estimated that two and half times this number of people would be directly affected, and nearly a quarter million (220,000) people would suffer reduced access to water for drinking and irrigation. Much of this will be due to de-watering of the proposed mine (to keep water from entering the pits) up to 1,000 meters in depth, which will result in a “massive reduction in groundwater.”
Posted by sysiphus at 15:56