The Karen National Union (KNU) has not permitted the construction of a proposed cement plant in Hlaingbwe Township under its controlled area, according to Gen. Saw Johnny, chief of staff of the Karen National Liberation Army (KNLA) under the KNU.
Yadanar Sai Kaung Myat Kyaw Company has earmarked the construction of the cement plant near Hnget Pyaw Taw Village under Yin Bai Village Group in Shan Ywar Thit under Hlaingbwe Township.
“We won’t accept projects that will bring negative impact to the public. We will consider it if it will bring benefits to the public. Everything depends on the public’s desire. We’ve learned that the company has earmarked the project. We haven’t given our permission yet,” Gen Saw Johnny said to Karen News on October 2.
He continued that the KNU will stand by its policy and the company has met with the KNU to discuss the project but the decision will be made only after it has been submitted to the central executive committee.
An official from the company has said the proposed cement plant will produce 10,000 tons per day and the company will invest US$760 million in this plant. The cement plant will be built using latest technology and it will offer jobs to around 5,000 local residents.
Yadanar Sai Kaung Myat Kyaw Company held a meeting with local authorities on September 23 to discuss the cement plant project and sought the opinion of local residents from Shan Ywar Thit project area.
“Civil organizations weren’t invited to the events relating to the project. They stated that there will be minimum impact. However, the local residents should be informed about how they plan to proceed in terms of technology. The project should be carried out in accordance with existing law in Myanmar and international standard and the involvement of local residents from various layers should be allowed,” said Saw Thar Boe from the Karen Rivers Watch.
He added that the local residents and civil organizations have been feeling concerned over the cement plant project and the project may affect the ongoing peace process in Burma if it is carried out without giving a clear explanation to the local residents.
The company will pay compensation to the owners of farmlands and plantations that are included in the project area and it has reached an initial agreement with respective state ministry to build the cement plant.