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Bangladesh gas contracts awards to foreign firms spark protest


Dhaka : Thirty persons, including 10 policemen were injured in a clash Wednesday when activists of Left parties protested award of oil and gas exploration contracts in the Bay of Bengal to foreign firms.

The activists belonged to the National Committee to Protect Oil, Gas, Mineral Resources, Power and Ports, a combine of six Leftist parties and groups and their students wings, Star Online reported.

At least 30 people, including 10 police personnel, were injured as police clashed with the activists in the city Wednesday. Several vehicles were damaged during the half-an-hour clash.

The committee Wednesday said it would announce future protest programmes shortly.

Bangladesh last week cleared two blocks in the Bay of Bengal for exploration by an American multinational and one by an Irish firm.

Its quest for hydrocarbon has been delayed by conflicting maritime territorial claims in the upper reaches of the Bay of Bengal with neighbours India and Myanmar.

The dispute and the fact that Bangladesh is sandwiched between the two has kept many prospective explorers away.