November 25, 2017
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Ethnic leaders to discuss Kaladan project with Indian govt

The Kaladan river between Mrauk U and Sittwe in Myanmar (Photo: Jmhullot / Wikipedia)

Chairman Zo Zam of the Chin National Party (CNP) told Mizzima that leaders of ethnic Chin and Rakhine parties and civil society organizations will meet the Indian government to discuss hardships faced by local people in Myanmar due to the Kaladan River project.

Chairman Zo Zam, Dr. Aye Maung Chairman of the Rakhine Nationalities Development Party (RNDP) and Director of the Gender and Development Initiative will meet Indian MPs on September 20, in New Delhi to discuss Indo-Myanmar issues.

Chairman Zo Zam added, “We will focus on the Kaladan River project and Sittwe port project. I will also include border issues between India and Chin state in my discussion with them.”

The Kaladan multi-modal development project agreement was signed by the Myanmar and Indian government in 2008 and work on the project commenced in December 2010. The Indian government has invested USD 214 million in the project. As part of the project, a deep-sea port is being built in Sittwe, Rakhine state for Indian vessels. The Kaladan River will be dredged and sandbars along the banks will be cleared to enable ships under 300 tons to navigate till Mizoram state in India. There are also plans to build another sea port in Paletwa, Chin state to enable motorway connection between Myanmar and Mizoram.

Dr. Aye Maung said, “The Indian government has not taken up anything yet for development in Rakhine state. Moreover, the Kaladan multi-modal project will benefit both Myanmar and India, so they should be transparent about the project to the people. The governments of both countries have not disclosed details of the project to the people and they have been criticized for lack of transparency.”

The Kaladan Movement Organization comprising local CSOs released a report in Bangkok in June on the project, and demanded resolution of environmental and social impact as well as human rights violations during resettlement, in the project area.

Chairman Zo Zam said that the Indian government wanted to know the opinion of the local people on the impact of the project. He added that the Indian government has also provided primary schools and health-care centers for local people as part of their development work.

The Myanmar delegation will leave on September 18 for India.

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