Join the Socialist Party Join us today!

Printable version Printable version

Facebook   Twitter

Link to this page: http://www.socialistparty.org.uk/articles/19299

Posted on 29 September 2014 at 16:14 GMT

Stop corporate plunder of the energy and power sector in Bangladesh

Pete Mason, East London Socialist Party
Anu Mohammad, Secretary, Committee to protect oil gas and mineral resources in Bangladesh, photo Socialist Party

Anu Mohammad, Secretary, Committee to protect oil gas and mineral resources in Bangladesh, photo Socialist Party   (Click to enlarge)

A packed meeting in Tower Hamlets heard the secretary of the Committee to Protect Oil Gas and Natural Resources in Bangladesh, professor Anu Mohammad, who was visiting the UK, condemn the corporate plunder of Bangladesh by companies like the UK based Global Coal Management Resources (GCM). Despite huge protests and three deaths (reported in the Socialist, 8 December 2010 ), GCM is still pressing ahead with a massive open-cast coal mining operation in Phulbari, north-west Bangladesh, which will displace up to 200,000 people, destroy over 14,660 acres of agricultural land and devastate the water resources of another 220,000 people. 94% of the revenue generated by the planned mine will be taken by GCM, campaigners say, leaving only 6% for the government. It is daylight robbery.

Public meeting of the Committee to protect oil gas and mineral resources in Bangladesh, UK Branch, photo by Socialist Party

Public meeting of the Committee to protect oil gas and mineral resources in Bangladesh, UK Branch, photo by Socialist Party   (Click to enlarge)

Despite brief attempts to drown out his speech by rowdy Bangladeshi government supporters who had taken an adjoining room, Anu Mohammad clearly explained the role of the multinational corporations in the ruination of Bangladesh, a fertile country rich in water and mineral wealth. In the mid-1990s, the World Bank promoted the privatisation of gas, oil and other natural resources in Bangladesh with the promise that it would bring 'cheap gas and save huge amounts of money for the public exchequer'.

But 'that is the opposite of the case', Anu Mohammad explained. Oil and gas companies like ConcoPhillips and Chevron moved in and now the cost of production is anything from 10 to 30 times more than it was in the hands of Petrobangla, the government-owned national oil company of Bangladesh. Anu Mohammad argued that while it costs 1 billion taka to drill an oil well, the cost in the hands of Unocal Bangladesh, bought by Chevron in 2005, was 15 billion. One energy project estimated at 20 billion taka cost 180 billion.

'Sustainable power solutions are not possible with these greedy corporations', professor Mohammad stated, while renewable energy 'has huge potential and a real future'. Meanwhile 5 billion in US dollars (387 billion Bangladesh taka) is owed by US and Canadian corporations in unpaid compensation for accidents and Chevron effectively pays 'nothing in tax but claims to be the number one taxpayer'. Every penny Chevron pays in tax is refunded by the government through Petrobangla. 'Who is running the country?' professor Mohammad asked.

But the 'spirit of resistance is still very active'. Three activists were killed during a mass movement which forced the government to completely repudiate the entire open-cast coal mining operation in Phulbari in 2006, a promise it appears not to be keeping. Last year GCM's chief executive, Gary Lye, was forced to cancel his plans to visit Phulbari by the District Commissioner and local police due to the 'volatile situation prevailed at Dinajpur's Phulbari' according to Bangladesh's bdnews24.com. There were all-day protests against his visit by locals 'carrying sticks'.

Invited speakers

Rumana Hashem, Phulbari Solidarity Group, addresses a meeting of the Committee to Protect Oil Gas and Natural Resources in Bangladesh, photo by Socialist Party

Rumana Hashem, Phulbari Solidarity Group, addresses a meeting of the Committee to Protect Oil Gas and Natural Resources in Bangladesh, photo by Socialist Party   (Click to enlarge)

Speakers invited included the Socialist Party (England and Wales), the Communist Party of Britain, and the Socialist and Communist Parties of Bangladesh alongside the Phulbari Solidarity Group who are continuing to lobby to stop GCM.

I emphasised the Socialist Party's demand for public ownership of the UK energy industry - and this would of course include GCM. In addition, the Socialist Party demands that compensation should only be given to the share owners in cases of genuine need. I called for an ecologically-minded, democratically drawn up socialist plan of production to end the madness of capitalist exploitation of the planet and the dangerous global warming that has resulted. This would end the profit-motivated depredation of Bangladesh by companies like GCM.

The Trade Unionist and Socialist Coalition, of which the Socialist Party is part, is committed to such a programme and I invited the UK branch of the Committee to Protect Oil Gas and Natural Resources in Bangladesh to send representatives to the local TUSC committees in preparation for the general election in Britain next year.


Five copies of the Socialist were bought and one copy of Planning for the Planet by Pete Dickenson.

The website of the UK Branch of the Committee to Protect Oil-Gas-Mineral Resources in Bangladesh is: www.protectbdresources.org.uk and the Phulbari Solidarity Group website is www.PhulbariSolidarityGroup.wordpress.com


This version of this article was first posted on the Socialist Party website on 29 September 2014 and may vary slightly from the version subsequently printed in The Socialist.

Why not click here to join the Socialist Party, or click here to donate to the Socialist Party.






Related links:

Tower Hamlets:

triangleTower Hamlets Socialist Party: "You can't have capitalism without racism" (Malcolm X)

triangleTower Hamlets Socialist Party: Capitalism in Crisis - is Corbyn the answer?

triangleTower Hamlets Socialist Party: Eye witness in Catalonia

triangleBarts strike - 'Up the ante' if necessary

triangleTower Hamlets and East London Socialist Party: 100 years since the Russian revolution

Energy:

triangleHurricane Harvey: A tragedy made far worse by capitalism

triangleCorbyn's manifesto: An important step in the right direction

triangleTories out! Corbyn can win with socialist policies

triangleTheatre review: Fracked! Political satire skewers frackers

Bangladesh:

triangleBrutal repression of Rohingya people sparks massive humanitarian crisis

triangleExtreme weather events and global warming

Socialist:

triangleConference on state spies: who's watching who?

triangleSocialist Students 'welcome' Hillary Clinton to Swansea

Oil:

triangleTories and Blairites in pockets of big business: kick them out!

World Bank:

triangleCourageous Ebola nurse Salomé Karwah dies

Reports and campaigns

Reports and campaigns

19/10/17

North West

Arriva North West bus drivers strike over pay

18/10/17

Democratic rights

Conference on state spies: who's watching who?

18/10/17

Leeds

Striking back against sackers' charter at Leeds Uni

18/10/17

Royal Mail

Royal Mail bosses block strike - back postal workers

18/10/17

PCS

Balloting members on the pay cap

18/10/17

Art

'Dazzling' Bad Art show points to socialist future

18/10/17

Council

Sheffield Labour council threatens peaceful protesters with prison

18/10/17

South West Wales

Hundreds turn out for rally aimed at removing west Wales Tory MP

18/10/17

NHS

Uprising to save the NHS!

18/10/17

Socialism

Can you donate to the Socialism 2017 appeal?

18/10/17

East London

No cuts - hands off King George A&E!

18/10/17

North London

North London hospital workers fight cuts and job losses

18/10/17

BAE

Nationalise to save jobs at BAE Systems

18/10/17

Schools

Schools "can't go any further" - stop the cuts: set deficit budgets now

18/10/17

Swansea

Socialist Students 'welcome' Hillary Clinton to Swansea

triangleMore Reports and campaigns articles...


Join the Socialist Party
Subscribe to Socialist Party publications
Donate to the Socialist Party

triangle19 Oct Arriva North West bus drivers strike over pay

triangle18 Oct Russia, October 1917: When workers took power

triangle18 Oct Tories torn - bin them now

triangle18 Oct Royal Mail bosses block strike - back postal workers

triangle18 Oct Balloting members on the pay cap

triangle13 Oct The end of the Tories?

triangle11 Oct Nasty party imploding...drive out the Tories

More ...

triangle23 Oct Chesterfield Socialist Party: The continuing struggle for abortion rights

triangle24 Oct Liverpool Socialist Party: The October Russian Revolution 100 years ago to the day

triangle25 Oct Salford Socialist Party: The October 1917 Russian revolution

triangle25 Oct Swansea Socialist Party: Mother Jones - A US labour pioneer

More ...

Socialist Party Facebook page
Socialist Party on Twitter
Visit us on Youtube

Archive

Archives:

October 2017

September 2017

August 2017

July 2017

June 2017

May 2017

April 2017

March 2017

February 2017

January 2017

2016

2015

2014

2013

2012

2011

2010

2009

2008

2007

2006

2005

2004

2003

2002

2001

2000

1999

Legal

SP RSS feed RSS

Platform setting: = No platform choice

V2