Cop-workers clash in Ctg Coal Power Plant leaves 5 dead

18 April 2021


Chattogram Bureau :
At least five workers were reportedly  killed and in many as 25  injured in a fatal clash with police at an under-constructing  coal based power plant, owned by S Alam Group and China-based SEPCO3, in  south Chattogram's Banshkhali upazila on Saturday.
The incident occurred at West Gandamara union of Banskhali upazila.at around 12 noon.  The deceased are- Shuvo, 23, Rahat, 24, Ahmad Reza, 19, Raihan, 17, and Rony Hossain, 22. Four bodies were kept in Banskhali upazila health complex and one succumbed to his injury at Chattogram Medical College Hospital.
Different sources said   workers were staging protest over several demands including raising wages and reducing working hours in the morning.
On information from the plant authorities, police rushed to spot to control the situation, Banshkhali police station's Inspector (Investigation) Azizul Islam told The New Nation.
A clash erupted when workers threw brick-bats and police opened fire to bring the situation under control,the police official added. Confirming the number of death toll so
far, Upazila Health Officer Dr Shafiur Rahman Mozumder said, Twelve more people were referred to different hospitals.More than 12 people were taken to Chattogram  Medical College Hospital in critical condition with bullet wounds and  4 deads  kept in Banskhali health complex.
One of injured  Raihan died in CMCH   said Jahir Uddin Bhuiyan, police sub  inspector CMCH police outpost.Banshkhali Upazila Nirbahi Office Saiduzzaman Chowdhury said, We heard that two people were killed in the clash.
"There was unrest among the workers for long time over wages, work hours and other matters.
 Police opened fire during a clash with workers on Saturday, said DIG Anwar Hossain.
The problem was with the Chinese contracting  company and the workers are working under Chinese contractors. S Alam Group is not involved with clashes. Chinese company has investment in the plant,said Akis Uddin, secretary to S Alam Group .
When contacted S Alam Group Executive Director Subrata Kumar Bhowmick said, "The project has started with 70%  S Alam's  investment and 30% Chinese investment.  Around 40% construction works have been completed. Around 3,000 workers are working in the project.Mohammad Faruk, brother of bullet-hit worker Morshed, said, "Workers protested demanding to reduce work hours on Saturday.                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                       If their demands were undue, authorities could sack them. Police should not have shot them following orders from influential people.
Earlier in 2016, at least four persons were killed and nearly three dozen people injured in another clash between law enforcers and locals over the coal-based power plant land acquisition process  sponsored by S Alam Group.
Later one more was killed in 2017.
UNB adds: On Saturday morning, union leaders sat in a meeting with the local administration to settle the issue.
At one stage, an altercation broke out around 11:45 am, triggering a chase and counter chase between the police and plant workers.
Later, police fired shots to disperse the workers, leaving four of them dead on the spot and 25 others injured.
Five of them who sustained bullet wounds were taken to Chittagong Medical College and Hospital where Raihan, hailing from Hatiya in Noakhali, died, said CMCH in-charge Shilbrato Barua.
The other injured are being treated at Banshkhali Upazila Health Complex.
Meanwhile, the agitated workers carried out vandalism and arson attacks inside the power plant.
In 2016, six people were killed in a clash with police at the same coal-based 1320 MW Power Plant.
The protests against the allocation of land for the coal-fired power plant continued for some time, allegedly with the support of a local BNP leader.
A Chinese company is working as an EPC contractor for the construction of the plant. According to police and the local administration, locals joined workers during the clash inside the power plant.
Banshkhali Police Inspector Azizul Islam confirmed the casualties, adding that six police personnel were also injured in the clash.
Banshkhali UNO Saiduzzaman Chowdhury said the workers had been making demands for several days and wanted to present these demands to the senior members of the administration.
Chowdhury noted that the power plant was still under construction and police and senior officials of the administration were present at the scene, bdnews24.com adds.


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