Dhaka, Bangladesh (BBN)- The National Committee to Protect Oil Gas Mineral Resources Power and Ports on Tuesday launched its five-day long march.

About 2,000 marchers gathered in front of the National Press Club in Dhaka at 10:00 am and moved for Manikganj enroute to Rampal.

The marchers reached the city’s Shaymoli area at 12:30 pm marching Matsya Bhaban and Shahbagh crossing, and they got into 30 buses, minibuses and microbuses and moved towards Jahangirnagar University.

Addressing a rally in front of the National Press Club before launching the long march Tuesday, the national committee leaders alleged that the government’s move to set up coal-fired power plant near the Sundarbans will harm the Sundarbans destroying its environment, ecosystem and biodiversity.

Committee convener Engr Muhammad Shahidullah, its member secretary Professor Anu Muhammad and Syed Abul Maksud, among others, addressed the rally.

Urging the government to immediately cancel the project, the leaders said when the Indian government does not allow any power company to set up any coal-fired power plant within 25km of any forest in their territories, the Bangladesh government is going to set up the thermal power plant within 14km of the Sundarbans.

They said if the government does not stop implementation work on Rampal power plant, they would go for greater movement.

Leaders of different left-leaning parties, including Communist Party of Bangladesh (CPB) president Mujahidul Islam Selim, Socialist Party of Bangladesh general secretary Khalekuzzaman and Ganashanghati coordinator Junayed Saki were present at the rally to express their solidarity with the long march programme.

BBN/SSR/AD-25Sept13-10:27 am (BST)