Kachin State Villagers Fearful Military Regime Will Restart Myitsone Dam

Kachin citizens who were displaced by the Myitsone Dam walked from where they were relocated back to their homeland during International Rivers Day on March 14.

Since the military regime took over the country during the February 1 coup, villagers are afraid they’ll resume the dam project, which was suspended by the Thein Sein government in 2011 after facing widespread opposition.

“Of course, we’re concerned the current military council will restart the Myitsone Dam project because the previous military regime started it. Therefore, we are calling for its permanent end,” a local man, who was relocated to Aung Myintha village from the Myitsone area, told KNG.

About 100 people walked from Aung Myintha to the dam site during the protest organized by the Kachin Development Networking Group (KDNG) and Mung Chying Rawt Jat (MRJ). They shouted slogans calling for the “permanent end” of the project, for “locals to be able to return to their home villages” and to “destroy the roots of dictatorship”.

Ma Cindy Awng from KDNG told KNG everyone loves the Myitsone, located at the confluence of Makha and Malai Kha rivers, because “it’s essential for our country”. She said they’ll oppose any dam project on the Irrawaddy River.

Planned at the source of the Irrawaddy River, the Myitsone Dam is a $3.6 bn joint venture between China Power Investment Corporation, the Burmese Government’s Ministry of Electric Power and Asia World Company. It’s expected to generate 6,000 megawatts if it is ever built, with ninety percent of the generated power slated for China.

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