Chinese media last week revealed that the International Commission on Large Dams (ICOLD) is currently conducting an “independent” inspection of the Irrawaddy Myitsone dam, being built by China Power Investment Corporation (CPI), to prove that the dam is completely safe and beneficial. Such a study would be a major boost in CPI’s bid to push ahead with the suspended project.
According to Xu Zeping of the Chinese Committee on Large Dams, a member of ICOLD, the Myitsone project “is currently under third-party inspection in order to dispel Myanmar people’s doubts.” The study will assess environmental, social and safety issues.
Despite claims of independence, the ICOLD, made up of 90 members, is the dam industry’s main lobby group and has close ties to CPI. The group is based in Paris and its current board president is from China.
Burma’s president announced the suspension of the dam in September last year following widespread public concerns about the dam’s negative economic, social and environmental impacts. An environmental impact assessment conducted in 2009 recommended that the dam not be built.
“How can the global dam industry carry out an independent study?” said Seng Mai of the Kachin Development Networking Group. “This is just another tactic by CPI to override the wishes of the people of Burma.”
According to Chinese media, CPI representatives have repeatedly met with Burmese officials to lift the dam suspension and last month CPI visited relocated villagers to assure them that the dam will be beneficial. CPI is the project implementer for a series of seven dams on the Irrawaddy and its tributaries in war torn Kachin State to sell electricity to China.
ICOLD is made up of national committees which include hydropower companies. The current president of ICOLD is Dr. Jinsheng JIA from China who is also the Vice-President of China’s Commission on Large Dams (CHINCOLD). CPI is a member of CHINCOLD; CPI’s Deputy General Manager (Mr. Yong TIAN) is a Vice-President of CHINCOLD’s board and two other CPI staff (Mr. Qi WANG and Mr. Donglai JIN) also serve on the CHINCOLD board.
Contact: Seng Mai ( +66 823913325)
To view video footage of CPI’s public relations meeting with local villagers see www.kdng.org
For Chinese media article, see here.Tags: China, China Power Investment Corporation, Kachin Development Networking Group, Myitsone Dam