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Kuki women urge Burma and India: Stop Damming the Chindwin and Let Us Return Home

By Kuki Women's Human Rights Organization  •  December 8, 2011

Impacted Kuki women are demanding that India and Burma immediately cancel the giant Tamanthi dam project on the Chindwin River and let over 2,400 relocated villagers return home.

In a campaign booklet launched today, the Kuki Women’s Human Rights Organisation (KWHRO) exposes how the planned hydropower dam will flood an area the size of Delhi, displacing over 45,000 people, including the entire town of Khamti, from along the Chindwin River in Sagaing Division, northwest Burma.

Over 2,400 villagers, including indigenous Kuki, were forcibly relocated from the dam site in 2007 by Burma Army troops, who bulldozed their houses and lands. Ordered into a barren relocation site 40 miles away, many families are continuing to suffer from food shortages and poor health. Surveying at the dam site by engineers from NHPC Limited, India’s largest hydropower producer, has been ongoing this year under tight security.  Burma plans to sell 80% of power from the 1,200 megawatt dam to India, although the majority of people in Burma have no access to electricity. The Chindwin, the largest tributary of the Irrawaddy, is a vital watershed for millions in Burma. According to a 2006 project EIA, the dam’s reservoir will flood parts of Tamanthi Wildlife Reserve, home to several globally endangered species. Since dam surveying began, there has been large-scale logging along the river banks. The entire river basin is also a seismically active zone.

In September 2010, Burma’s President Thein Sein abruptly suspended the massive Chinese-funded Myitsone hydropower project on the Irrawaddy river, due to widespread public pressure against the dam. “The Tamanthi dam is a social and environmental disaster in the making. Burma and India must stop the project now or the public backlash will be huge,” said Ngangai, spokesperson of KWHRO.

The KWHRO are demanding that relocated villagers be allowed to return to their homes immediately and be provided with proper compensation. Villagers received as little as 5,000 kyats (US$5) in total for the loss of their homes and farms.

Download the Press Release in Burmese and view the booklet here.

Contact persons:
Ms.Nga Ngai               Ph: +91-9717369831
Mr.Seigin Kuki            Ph: +91-9971912240

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This post is in: Business and Human Rights, Environmental and Economic Justice, Press Release

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