Villagers live in hope dam company delivers on promises

Asian World Company, the biggest infrastructure and construction company in Burma says it will re-house a hundred families relocated from Htone Bo village, because of the construction of a hydro-power dam project on the Palet River. Htone Bo village is located 14 miles from Taungoo Town in Pago Division.

Mr Ko Si Thu, an official from the Asian World Company told Karen News that a new Htone Bo village will be built and will be a model village. Mr Ko Si Thu said the company have already submitted a construction permit to the regional chief-of-government and they will start building the village as soon as the plan is approved.

“We submitted the builing application in March. We have also asked the Land Registration office for 100 acres of land north of Nagar Mauk village. We have explained the situation to the villagers. We will start the construction as soon as we get permission from the government.”

Asian World has two dam projects on the Palet River close to Htone Bo village – the Thout Ye Kat 1 and the Thout Ye Kat 2. According to sources from the company, the construction of Thout Ye Kat 2 has finished, but the estimated 40 Megawatt of electricity that will be produced from the dam will be generated this November.

A local resident from Taungoo said that they welcomed any development project – including Asian World’s – that benefits local people.

“Asian World, aside from providing electricity, also plans to build a school, a church, water-well, playgrounds and homes for villagers. They showed us the whole draft project that they submitted to the Land Registration office. If they are genuinely carrying out this plan, it will be good for the local community and in that case, we will welcome them.”

Asian World’s Mr Ko Si Thu explained that electricity produced from the dams will be sent to Taungoo electricity center and the government will have to pay their company to use it.

Saw Htoo, a Htone Bo villager said he will wait and see if the company will deliver what they have promised.

“They’ve said the electricity produced from here will be used for our local community. They’ve also promised to build a new Htone Bo as a model village. So far villagers are satisfied with what they have been promised. But we will have to wait and see if they fulfill all of what they have promised.”

The hydro-power dam projects were initially started by the former Burma military government, but as they couldn’t continue the construction, the Asian World Company stepped-in and took over the dam projects in November 2007.

In 2006, 73 families from Htone Bo village had to move out from their village to make way for the dam projects and currently, there are a total of 93 families who have been relocated.

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