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Kachin Political Party Speaks Out Against Myitsone Dam

Kachin residents around Myitsone dam site marked the International Rivers Day, May 14, at Lung Ga Zup, 27 miles north of Myitkyina, Kachin State, northern Burma.

The Kachin State People’s Party (KSPP) has come out against the Myitsone hydropower dam, which, if completed, would be located on the confluence of the Irrawaddy River in Kachin State.

The statement came on International Rivers Day on March 14, where the Htoi Gender Development Foundation organized an event in Lung Ga Zup village 27 miles north of Myitkyina.

“We have accepted that electricity is a basic need for development. Our state needs to be developed. Behind the scenes of implementing development projects, suffering follows. People will face a lot of suffering if the Myitsone Dam is completed,” Nbrang Doi Bu, the vice-chairperson 1 of the KSPP, told KNG. “According to our people, we must not build this kind of mega-dam,” she added.

The Htoi Gender Development Foundation is in agreement, pointing out that the primary beneficiary of the 6,000-megawatt dam would be China, who is backing the project and would get most of the electricity it would produce.

“This dam should not be built,” Sarli Htwe, of Htoi, said. “There is no profit for our people. If this dam is built, our society will be destroyed. While the government needs to implement projects for the development of our nation, the government also needs to consider the losses of our society and environment.”

She added that it would be “unfair” if the government “only considered development projects rather than people’s lives” and recommended that they “listen to the voice of the people.”

The event earlier this month was held to recognize the need to maintain free-flowing rivers, oppose projects that impact water sources and protect people’s rights to clean water and the right to manage this resource themselves.

The ruling National League for Democracy has promised to let people know the future of the Myitsone dam, which was suspended by the former Thein Sein-led government in 2011. No updates have been provided on the status of the project.

Doi Bu said that she would continue to oppose the dam until the project is permanently halted.

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