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8,000 People to be Displaced by European-Chinese Dam Project in Burma

By Kayan New Generation Youth  •  May 31, 2011

Military authorities in Burma have ordered 8,000 people to move from their homes in preparation for a hydroelectric dam being constructed by European and Chinese companies that will power the country’s new capital of Nay Pyi Taw.

The Upper Paunglaung Dam, located in Shan State 50 kilometers southeast of Nay Pyi Taw, will produce 140 Megawatts of power and is nearly sixty percent finished. Swiss engineering firm Af Colenco has the contract for construction design and is overseeing the project. London-based Malcom Dunstan Associates as well as Yunnan Machinery and Export Company are also involved in the project.

An update released today by Kayan researchers reveals that the regional commander and township authorities have notified villagers they must be out by October this year and will receive just US $50 in compensation. A 61-square kilometer reservoir created by the dam will flood the entire Paunglaung valley, the only fertile plain in the area, destroying the local economy and putting pressure on the surrounding forests.

“We are ordered to move out with threats but we don’t know where to go and how we will survive” said a local villager interviewed for the update.

Forced labor to service army battalions brought in to secure the dam and tight restrictions on the local population have been associated with the project since 2004. Workers toiling at the construction site are paid a mere US$30 per month and are often paid late.

The Kayan group which authored the report is urging foreign investors to pull out of the project due to the violation of rights of local communities.

“This project shows that whether from Europe or Asia, companies are willing to toss aside proper standards when working in Burma,” said Mu Moe Lay of the Kayan New Generation Youth.

Mu Moe Lay  +66(8)45743452

Click here to download Kayan New Generation Youth’s report on the Dam project.

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This post is in: Press Release

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