Ansar Ahmed Ullah
London: The British coal mine company Global Coal Management (GCM) is running scared of mounting protest and condemnation of their fraudulent and exploitative activities in Phulbari, Bangladesh said Akhter S Khan, Member Secretary of National Committee to Protect Natural Resources in Bangladesh (NCBD), UK. He added as a result, they have postponed their 2019 Annual General meeting on a number of occasions. Now suddenly, taking advantage of the pandemic COVID 19, they hastily called their AGM on 20th March. Their intention was crystal clear. Under the cover of COVID 19 they wanted to avoid the embarrassment of a demonstration to expose their misdeeds.
Heeding the British Government’s advice on physical distancing and avoiding gatherings NCBD along with other organisations cancelled their protest demonstration.
Instead NCBD mobilised on-line protest on 20 March against GCM and their activities in Bangladesh. People from all over the world joined the online protest against GCM’s AGM and condemned its fraud business.
NCBD demanded that London Stock Exchange (LSE) must de-list GCM as it has no valid contract with the Bangladesh Government and Bangladesh Government must ban GCM’s activities in the country & take immediate action to stop GCM’s fraudulent business of marketing Phulbari project share without any valid license.
GCM is an Alternative Investment Market (AIM) listed mining company that is intent on implementing a massive open pit coal mine project in Phulbari, Dinajpur, northwest part of Bangladesh.
It is estimated that if the project is implemented it will forcibly displace 130,000 people from their land. The project will destroy 50,000 water bodies, 14,000 hectors of arable land and bring a catastrophic environmental and climate impact to the region.
GCM, previously named Asia Energy, faced a local mass uprising against them in 2006. Paramilitary forces fired on the innocent people killing 3 individuals and injuring another 200. GCM was forced to retreat. Currently they do not have any valid licence to operate in Bangladesh because the Bangladesh government did not renew its contract in 2010.
However, GCM has been fraudulently selling shares for their so-called “Phulbari coal project” on the London Stock Exchange (LSE). In August 2019, a large demonstration, held in front of the LSE, demanded the delisting of GCM from the LSE, because it had no valid contract with the Bangladesh government.