District Court Rejects Villagers’ Lawsuit Against Myitsone Dam Shareholders

An uncompleted Mali Hka (Irrawaddy) river bridge near Myitsone dam, 17 miles north of Myitkyina, Kachin state

A Myitkyina district court rejected a lawsuit by villagers against the two main companies involved in the controversial Myitsone dam.

Aung Myin, a lawyer representing Mali Yang and Chying Hkrang villages, filed the lawsuit at the end of last month.

The Myitsone dam in Kachin State was suspended by the Thein Sein government in 2011 after a public outcry opposed the project. Locals fear construction will resume again after China, which is bankrolling the project, began pushing for its suspension to be lifted.

Nyunt Lin, the presiding judge that rejected the application, explained villagers intended to take action against China Power Investment Corporation (CPI) and Asia World Company.

Hpoe Phyu plans to submit another application, despite the results, with support from about three-hundred villagers.

Ja Hkawn, who lives near the dam site, told the KNG, it will take at least four months for the court to decide on their latest application. “We want to protect our Myitsone (river),” she said.

Despite its suspension many years ago CPI maintains staff at the site of the suspended dam, located on the confluence of the Mali and N’mai rivers, the source of the Irrawaddy River in northern Burma.

Recently, CPI representatives have been trying to convince locals of the positive benefits if the dam is built.

Before it was suspended, many were forced to relocate to a new location. They want to go back and hope if the Myitsone dam is permanently stopped they can return home.

If it was completed it would have been the fifteenth largest hydropower dam in the world.

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