Lower House MP Daw Doi Bu told Mizzima on Friday that Myanmar’s Vice Minister of Energy did not give a full response to her question about the future of the Myitsone Dam project and, in particular, her enquiry about what will happen to hundreds of locals who were relocated to make way for the China-backed mega-dam.
The MP for Inn Jar Yang constituency said she asked the vice-minister in parliament how the government intended to provide for these people as they were now living in new villages where they were unable to cultivate crops in the rocky land.
“The vice-minister did not answer the question,” she said. “I specifically asked about the contractual obligations, but he responded on another issue.”
Vice Minister Myit Zaw is reported to have responded: “A total of 16 billion kyat was spent resettling residents from five villages, and all future plans will be conducted through the [Kachin] state government.”
Daw Doi Bu said the minister was unwilling to respond on the matter of how and when matters will be settled. She maintained she will keep raising this point in parliament.
A local resident, Sai Tu, told Mizzima that the villagers are struggling to survive because they cannot grow crops on the new land. “We have to collect roots and vegetables from the forest to survive,” he said.
The project has been suspended during the current presidential term. At a meeting with representatives of financial backers, the state-owned China Power Investment Corporation (CPI), on June 6, members of the 88 Generation Peace and Open Society Group led by Ko Mya Aye said they urged the Chinese firm to abandon plans for the dam even after this current presidential term expires in 2015.
The Myitsone hydro-power project was scheduled to be built at the confluence of the Irrawaddy River in Kachin State. At full capacity, CPI said it would produce 6,000 MW of electricity, the majority of which would be transferred to southern China. Although construction started in 2007, the project was suspended in September 2011 by President Thein Sein after public protests. CPI, however, continue to say they are confident the project will restart in 2015.
For more background:
- CPI plans to move ahead on Myitsone Dam, says Kachin NGO
- Myitsone Dam agreement must be made public if CPI sues
- Chinese company says Burma could face legal consequences
- Chinese company tries to build support for Myitsone Dam