Burma's Electric Power Minister Zaw Min challenged the
people that the government will not abandon the project due to any objection,
the Eleven News Journal and other periodicals reported.
Zaw Min said on Saturday in a meeting with press, the
government will continue construction of the massive Myitsone Dam on the
Irrawaddy River in the face of grave criticism and ecological and societal
risks, the Eleven News Journal highlighted.
At a press conference in Naypyidaw on Saturday, Zaw Min said
the government is building the dam in order to generate enough electricity for
the national interest. It is Burma's domestic issue and the government intends
to complete its construction neglecting whoever objects, he said.
"Within eight years, we have to complete this hydropower
project. There is one question of the environmental groups whether the project
may be stopped, and the answer is clearly no,"said Zaw Min.
According to Zaw
Min, the previous junta hired Biodiversity And Nature Conservation Association
(BANCA), a third party for the impact assessment paying US $1.25 million for
this survey. As it has done well with the impact assessment, the project will
not be stopped before implementation. In addition, Zaw Min said that after
carrying out the construction the country will receive 10 percent of the
electricity it generates.
Dam construction at Myitsone began December 21, 2009, led by
China's state owned China Power Investment Corporation (CPI) in cooperation
with Burma's Asia World Company (AWC) and the Burmese junta's No. 1 Ministry of
Electric Power. Remarkably, AWC owner is former drug lord Lo Hsing Han.
The dam site is to be found within the
Mizoram-Manipur-Kachin rainforest area, which is known as one of the world's
top biodiversity hot spots and is a global conservation priority. Environmental
activists and researchers say the project will force Kachin villagers to
abandon their homes and could face inundation of an area, the size of
Singapore. All the damages caused by the Burmese government's eagerness to
satisfy China as it needs more power for its growing industrial zones.
As a result, the KIO warned CPI employees not to enter its
area in the dam construction sites north of the Mali-N'mai Rivers. The reason
was that KIO has stopped cooperating with the Burmese government when the
government discontinued the 1994 truce on September 1, 2010.
laureate Aung San Suu Kyi released a letter on 11 August calling on promoters
of the Myitsone dam project to reassess the plan, pointing out concerns that
dams on the Irrawaddy River damage the environment, decrease rice production,
dislodge ethnic peoples. Besides, it would hurt livelihoods of local
communities and there is a risk of possible destructive earthquakes.
"We believe that, taking into account the interests of both
countries, both governments would hope to avoid consequences which might
jeopardize lives and homes," Suu Kyi emphasized. "To safeguard the Irrawaddy is
to save from harm our economy and our environment, as well as to protect our
cultural heritage," she added.
In reaction to the minister Zaw Min's remarks, Aung San Suu
Kyi on 12 September repeats her appeal to Burma and China to re-examine the
plan, calling the Irrawaddy "the most significant geographical feature of our
Several complaint letters concerning construction of the
Myitsone dam have been sent to the Burmese and Chinese governments by local
people, the Kachin National Consultative Assembly (KNCA) and the Kachin
Independence Organization (KIO). However, no action has been taken to tackle
the worries expressed by the Kachin community.
KIO have waged
revolutionary warfare for self-determination, including having more power over
the natural resources in their state. Since 9 June, skirmishing spread out
between the KIA and the government's troops. The warfare was interrelated to
the outsized developmental projects being built by China.
The Chairman of the KIO, Lanyaw Zawng Hra sent an official
letter to Hu Jintao, the President of the People's Republic of China on May 16
urging China to stop the controversial Myitsone dam construction on Irrawaddy
River in Kachin State. In the open letter the KIO warned Myitsone and six other
hydroelectric power plant projects could lead to civil war between the KIA and
the Burmese military because Burmese troops will be deployed to the KIO control
areas to provide security for the dam construction.
Mandalay and other big cities suffers power shortages, Burmese government is
still cheerful to export energy to neighboring China and Thailand. Zaw Min said
that country is currently using 1,500 megawatts of electricity. If the dam
produced 6,000 megawatts, the country needn't use all power and surplus energy
will be sold out to neighbors. The minister has no idea of supplying enough
electricity to domestic industries competing in the ASEAN market.
Investments, mainly in oil, natural gas and hydro power dams, are designed
providing finances for the function of the strong military power to oppress the
citizens rather than doing anything to get better social standard of the
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