Villagers who will be evicted from their homes in the east of Tavoy to make way for a Chinese company’s dam construction claim the Burma government and the Karen National Union (KNU) have ignored their pleas to stop the construction.
Saw Ko, a villager from the east of Tavoy spoke to Karen News.
“The building of Htee Ler Klay dam continues despite villagers opposition to the project, we have appealed to both Karen leaders and as well as the government to reconsider the project.”
Saw Ko says the villagers appeal has been ignored by both the government and the KNU.
“There is no action and there is no response from either the KNU or the government.”
P’doh Saw Plot Soe Win, head of the KNU at Ler Doh Soe Township, who administrates the area told Karen News.
“The villagers submit a short letter to me requesting the KNU halt the project. We, the KNU township leaders cannot make the decision on the issue but we will report the issue to the district officers.”
Villagers submitted the letter to the KNU in April.
A villager from Htee Ler Klay, (who requested his name not be used for security reasons), told Karen News, “In February, Karen National Liberation Army solders [operating in the area] fined the Chinese company Myanmar Nature Energy Wave, 20 million kyat (about US$24,169) for constructing the dam without the KNU’s permission. It is not clear if the Karen soldiers gave the company permission to continue with the dam construction, but they are still building.”
A local source told Karen News it is unlikely the KNLA unit had informed the KNU headquarters of its action in fining the Chinese company.
Villagers claims the construction of the Htee Ler Klay or Da Thway Kyauk dam, will flood five villages, four of them Karen.
The dam construction started in November last year and the company claims it will transmit power to Tavoy Town and neighboring villages, but, villagers allege the dam will supply power for the Tavoy Industry Zone.