Bangladeshi Protesters served notice of closure to British coal mining company

11 months old Usha says NO to Coal Mine, GCM receives warning at AGM  

By Raaj Manik

OFFICIAL NOTICE to GCM RESORUCES FROM PHULBARI PROTESTERS AND PEOPLE

Effective Immediately

Phulbari Solidarity Group Founder read out a Notice of closure to GCM at the demo on Friday Photo by Pete Mason

Friday, 18 December at 10:30am|4 Hamilton Place | London W1J 7BQ

This is to notify the London-based company, Global Coal Management Resources Plc., formerly known as Asia Energy, is coming down. The company has been hotly resisted by locals for its fatal business policy for nine years. Three people were shot dead and two hundred injured by company-provoked shooting by paramilitary force in a demonstration of 80,000 people opposing plans by GCM in 2006. The project has generated grave concern at national and international levels including the United Nations. Bangladesh government has cancelled the contract with the company. The government has repeatedly reassured protesters by official statements that Bangladesh does not want to build open pit mine in Phulbari. This year the UK government has published a statement highlighting the fierce opposition to GCM in Phulbari.

Due to its dodgy and unethical nature of business, the company was unable to register to London Stock Exchange. GCM is a member of London’s Alternative Investors Market. We note its business is dire. The company’s share price is falling every year. But the company is still pushing the government of Bangladesh for a fatal deal. In the month of the climate summit #COP21, when climate protests erupted across the globe seeking climate justice, they announced AGM to discuss a noxious deal to implement a massive open-pit coal mine by forcibly displacing 130,000 families in Phulbari. If the mine is built, it would destroy 14,600 hectares of highly cultivable land and would pose threats to clean water resources. The project would leave devastating impact on the country’s only mangrove forest and a UNESCO heritage site, the Sundarbans.

We advise GCM to close dodgy business by this year’s AGM. The company must clear their London office with immediate. Failure to do so will result in high penalty.

CONSIDER THIS AS A FINAL NOTICE TO CLOSE YOUR FAKE BUSINESS!

For further information contact: Bangladesh National Committee, UK branch http://protectbdresources.org.uk, http://www.ncbd.org and Phulbari Solidarity Group: https://phulbarisolidaritygroup.wordpress.com/

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On Friday 18 December 2015, the above notice of closure was served to an AIM-listed British mining company by Bangladeshi community and transnational campaigners to save Phulbari and the green land in northwest Bangladesh. After a successful noise-demo outside the company’s Annual General Meeting, the founder of the Phulbari SolidarityGroup and an eye witness to the carnage in Phulbari on 26 August, 2006, Rumana Hashem has read out the Notice of Closure on behalf of the protesters.

The demo organised by the UK branch of Bangladesh National Committee and the Phulbari Solidarity Group was participated by community women and men, and transnational climate change activists. Community women from Dinajpur and Phulbari joined the demo with their children as young as 11 months old.  They chanted slogans, banged spoons and played noisy flute to disrupt the Mayfair AGM of Global Coal Management. They said that GCM has no place in Bangladesh.

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Little Usha holds placard with his grand dad and mum from who came from Dinajpur to serve a notice of closure to GCM. Photo: Rumana Hashem

In the end of the demo the above notice of closure was served to GCM, which was handed into the board by their dissident shareholders who attended the AGM and questioned the company’s board about the social, economic and environmental impacts of the proposed Phulbari coal project. The dissident shareholders were greeted by other shareholders for raising important and timely questions. The board was clearly embarrassed when the Bangladeshi activists challenged the validity of the suspended contract with Bangladesh government.

Transnational advocates for climate change joined the demo with community activists. Indian anti-mining campaigner and the founder of Foil Vedanta, the activists from the London Mining Networks, leaders of the Socialist Party and the Tower Hamlet’s Trade Unionists and Socialist Coalition stood in full solidarity with the Phulbari activists and community environmentalists. Three representatives of the protesters walked into the AGM and questioned the chair of the company about illegal share business, and workers injuries in the shooting on 26 August in 2006.

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Protesters took over the entrance to block the investors which led to an argument with the company security personnel who tried to protect the company executives. Photo: Rumana Hashem

Protesters said that this year’s AGM would be GCM’s last ever meeting in London. In a notice of closure, they denounced the company as a fraudulent corporation that does not have any valid contract with Bangladeshi government. The company does not hold any other valid business elsewhere in the globe but they are selling shares in London’s alternative investors’ market. The protesters called upon Michael Tang and Gary Lye to close GCM’s London office without delay. The protesters and the Bangladeshi community activists would lock the company’s head office at Piccadilly in June 2016, otherwise, they said.

Watch video of the demo , with thanks to Socialist Party of England and Wales:  https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fhxPY8LFPxA&feature=youtu.be

A detailed report of the interrogation inside the AGM is here: GCM Withering and Wilting [http://londonminingnetwork.org/2015/12/gcm-withering-and-wilting/]

Photos of the demo can be accessed via Peter Marshall’s London Diary on Phulbari: http://mylondondiary.co.uk/2015/12/dec.htm#phulbari

More photos and video links can be accessed via Facebook Action-demo event page: https://www.facebook.com/events/180360322310156/

Further press coverage can be accessed via below links:

Protest in London against Phulbari coal mine: http://en.prothom-alo.com/bangladesh/news/89367/Protest-in-London-against-Phulbari-coal-mine

Protesters fight coal mining project in Bangladesh: http://www.socialistparty.org.uk/articles/21925/20-12-2015/protesters-fight-coal-mining-project-in-bangladesh

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GCM IS COMING DOWN!

Action Demo in London to Save PHULBARI & Green-Farm Land

Friday, 18 December at 10:30am, 4 Hamilton Place,  London W1J 7BQ (nearest tube station Hyde Park Corner)

In the month of the climate summit #COP21, when climate protests erupted across the globe seeking climate justice, a London-based AIM-listed multinational company, Global Coal Management Resources Plc. , announced its AGM to discuss a noxious deal to implement a massive open-pit coal mine by forcibly displacing 130,000 families of farmers in Phulbari. If the mine is built, it would destroy 14,600 hectares of highly cultivable land in northwest Bangladesh. It would also pose threats to clean water resources and would leave devastating impact on one of the world’s largest mangrove forests and UNESCO heritage site, the Sundarbans.

Phulbari outburst on 26 August 2006

The mothers and wives of murdered villagers in Phulbari calling the investors of Asia Energy (now GCM) after the shooting on 27 August in 2006.

The company, previously known as Asia Energy, has been hotly resisted by locals for its fatal business policy. Three people were shot dead and two hundred injured in a demonstration of 80,000 people that took place in opposition to plans by GCM in 2006. Bangladesh government has cancelled all contracts with the company nine years ago. The government has recently reassured protestors by a statement that it does not want to build an open pit mine in Phulbari. The project has generated grave concern at national and international levels including the United Nations. This year the UK government has published a statement highlighting the fierce opposition to GCM in Phulbari. But the company has so far ignored every message. It has been pushing the government of Bangladesh for a fatal deal. We advise GCM to close business NOW!

JOIN US inside and outside the AGM! We will warn them to close AGM forever!

RSVP to join us via https://www.facebook.com/events/180360322310156/

Please Bring along your banner, placards, festoons, whistles, drums, masks and messages against dirty coal miners. We will declare a notice of closure to GCM and we’ll celebrate the news that Bangladesh government has reassured there is no plan to open pit mine.

Contact for further information: Dr Akhter S Khan: nationalcommittee.uk@googlemail.com, Dr Mokhlesur Rahman qmr111@hotmail.com, Rumana Hashem: phulbarisolidaritygroup@gmail.com

Bangladesh National Committee, UK branch| Phulbari Solidarity Group, UK| 

Propaganda cannot rationalize Rampal Coal Fired Power Plant Project

Statement by National Committee to Protect Oil, Gas, Natural Resources, Power, Port

By Rumana Hashem

In response to the latest statement issued by Bangladesh-India Friendship Power Company regarding Rampal Power Plant, the Convener of National Committee to Protect Oil, Gas, Natural Resources, Power and Port, Engr. Sheikh Muhammad Shahidullah and Member Secretary Prof. Anu Muhammad jointly issued a statement. It was published on national committee website on 22 October. We are reproducing the statement with their permission below.

 

Anup Kundus photo 28 Jan 2015

Rare animals and wild bird died by oil spill in the Sundarbans.  If the Rampal power plant will be built, many more beautiful and rare animals would face the same fate! Photo credit: Anup Kundus 28 Jan 2015.

‘BIFPC, the Bangladesh-India Friendship Power Company, formed jointly by NTPC, India and BPDB, Bangladesh, in a statement published in newspapers on October 21, harshly criticized the ongoing movement to Save Sundarbans and presented some forged information regarding the Rampal power plant project. They stated, ‘a handful person and organizations are spreading misconceptions regarding Rampal power plant only to create a bar against the current development process of the country’. They also claimed that, ‘This plant will not impose any threat to ecology, environment, and local people’.

 

However, it is well known fact that this alleged ‘handful of persons and organizations’ who are opposing this plant include various organizations working with National Committee, experts from national and international arena, teachers, writers, artists, environmentalists and of course the general people of the country. Even UNESCO, Ramsar, South Asian Human Rights Forum, and Council of Ethics of Norway are also part of these few ‘persons and organizations’ who, according to them, are trying to ‘destabilize the country’s ongoing growth’! Meanwhile, UNESCO has already expressed their concern over this issue and a possibility arises that it might even consider withdrawing the status of Sundarbans from the list of World Heritage sites.

 

‘We would like to stress on the fact that except for few vested interest groups most others have taken a strong position against this plant. Even the Department of Environment and Forestry in Bangladesh opposed this plant in the very beginning. We have mentioned it many times that the conditions of Rampal Power plant largely violates International law. Indian environment law itself disallows such plant to set up within 25km of any ecologically sensitive area.

 

‘The Ongoing Save Sundarbans movement is based on various authentic research and analysis which confirms the destructive effect of the plant on Sundarbans. This plant has raised additional questions due to the lack of transparency, rule of law, and coercive role of the state. The company has claimed in the statement that ‘the plant will not cause pollution, and no amount of polluted or hot water will be released in the water bodies’. However, such pollution is obvious and even the government led EIA report had to admit the severe environmental adverse effects of the project.

 

‘In the statement, the company also stated that the power plant will crate job opportunities for the local people. This is a misleading piece of information as we all know a power plant is capable of employing only an insignificant number of people. Moreover, due to the dangerous impact of the plant on the water bodies and the forestry of nearby areas, nearly a million people, depending on the forest for their sustainable livelihood, would have no other choice but to become environmental refugees.

 

‘Interestingly, the company has blamed the farmers and the fishing community for the gradual decline of Sundarban’s. This is as well a well-planned propaganda against the marginalized communities of Sundarbans. It is very clear that the Sundarban is in danger not because of the communities living around it, but due to the powerful land grabbers and the ecologically disastrous industrial and ‘development’ projects. In addition, if the power plant is constructed, not only the Sundarbans will be affected, the communities of the southern belt of the country will become completely unprotected before increasing natural disasters.

 

‘The company has also claimed that the prime Minister of Bangladesh has recently received the ‘Champion of the Earth’ award, and thus it is out of question for the prime minister to promote any project that impacts the environment negatively. In response to this claim, we would like to remind that after the award, the Prime minister has bigger responsibility now. We expect that by canceling the dangerous project, our prime minister will do justice to her award, and will prove herself as a genuine defender of environment. Otherwise she will be remembered in the history for her flawed policies that is the biggest threat for survival of Sundarban, therefore responsible for the most dangerous environmental destruction of our time.’