China lobbying locals for resumption of Myitsone hydropower project

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China Power Investment Corporation (CPI) is persuading local people to help push for the resumption of the Myitsone (confluence) hydropower project in Kachin state when a new government takes office in Myanmar after the 2015 elections, according to a source from Mungchying Rawt Jat (MRJ).

MRJ is civil organisation made up of local residents displaced by the project.

The persuasion comes nearly two years after President Thein Sein announced in September 2011 the suspension of the project, which was being built on the Ayeyawady River near Tanphe village, about 7 kilometers downstream of the confluence.

Jar Khaw from MRJ said: “CPI officials are lobbying for the resumption of the project in the locality with incentives for the people to help with social and economic needs. When we asked them why they were persuading as the project was already scrapped, they replied that it was suspended during Thein Sein’s presidency and it will resume in the next presidency.”

Despite the suspension of the Myitsone project, the locals have not regained the ownership of their land and villages seized for the project. What’s more their land has been damaged by gold mining and other projects.

“Although the project was halted, the displaced people like us are not allowed to return to our places. We don’t totally agree with the resumption of the project. I want next presidents to stop the project completely. I also want to request President Thein Sein to urge his successor not to resume the project,” Jar Khaw said.

The local people have raised doubts about the suspension because of the CPI’s presence in the Myitsone area and restrictions on access to the project area, according to MRJ.

Recently, China also approached Myanmar’s opposition National League for Democracy (NLD) to help push for the project resumption.

Source: EMG

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