Villagers displaced by the Myitsone Dam, suspended since 2011, want it permanently stopped so they can live on their land again.
On September 30, the ninth anniversary of when the project was halted, over 50 from Tang Hpre village returned to clean up and clear the overgrown bush.
“We voted for the NLD (National League for Democracy) in the 2015 general election because we believed they would try to permanently stop the Myitsone dam project,” said Lu Ra, who was forced off her land. “We won’t believe the next government because the current government can’t keep its promises.”
“This area is so important to us…It’s our heritage and it shouldn’t disappear,” a local told KNG.
If built, flood water from the dam will inundate their land.
To make way for the project, the government relocated residents from Tang Hpe, Awng Ja Yang, Dawng Pan, Lahpye Kahtawng and Malizup villages to Aung Myintha Sanpya and Mali Yang villages.
Planned at the confluence of the Mali and N’mai rivers, and the source of the Irrawaddy River, the Myitsone Dam is a $3.6 bn joint venture between China Power Investment Corporation (CPI), the Burmese Government’s Ministry of Electric Power and Asia World Company. If built, it is expected to generate 6,000 megawatts, with ninety percent of the generated power sent to China.
After facing widespread opposition, the former Thein Sein government suspended it on September 30, 2011. But in recent years, China has been pushing for the dam’s construction to resume.