Police kill five workers at a Chinese-funded power plant
Workers stormed a construction site demanding unpaid wages and fewer hours of work for Ramadan. Police say they intervened to avoid attacks against 900 Chinese workers. Humanitarian organisation is seeking compensation for the families of the dead. China's investments play a major role.
Chittagong (AsiaNews) – Bangladeshi police killed five workers who were protesting last Saturday at a China-funded coal-fired power plant under construction in Banshkhali sub-district, the authorities said.
About 3,500 Bangladeshi workers were protesting over unpaid wages and the right to work fewer hours during Ramadan, the Muslim holy month dedicate to fasting and prayer.
According to official reports, the crowd set some vehicles on fire and attacked law enforcement.
Police apparently intervened to prevent protesters from attacking some 900 Chinese workers employed in the plant’s construction.
The authorities have charged some workers of arson and looting. However, only 11 have been identified. According to BenarNews, the damage amounts to 150 million taka (US$ 1.8 million).
Meanwhile, the humanitarian organisation Ain-O-Salish Kendra has submitted to the government a claim for compensation of 30 million taka (US$ 350,000) for each family of the five dead.
S. Alam Group, a Bangladeshi company, owns 70 per cent of the plant, while the remaining 30 per cent belongs to China's SEPCOIII Electric Power Construction Corp and the HTG Development Group.
Bangladesh is building several coal-fired power plants with Chinese capital. Critics say the investment is unnecessary, as the current national energy capacity exceeds consumer demand.
Bangladesh is a partner in China’s Belt and Road Initiative, Xi Jinping's project to turn China into the world leader in trade. Since its launch in 2013, Bangladesh has received US$ 26 billion in Chinese investment.