Htone Bo villagers are finding it tough to earn a living after being relocated from their village. The villagers were moved to make way for a hydropower dam being built on the Thouk Ye Kat River by the Shwe Energy (Asia World) Company. Villagers claim that the company that is building the dam is now refusing to pay them adequate compensation for their land and losses.
Htone Bo villagers allege that they moved out of their village with the promises that they would be paid a fair compensation due to hydropower dam. But until now, the company still has not been able to settled compensation claims with the villagers.
According to the Htone Bo village administration chief, Thouk Ye Kat, the Hydro Power Plant 2 has already begun to produce electricity, but the Shwe Energy Company have not paid villagers the promised compensation. Htone Bo village consists of 93 households with a total number of 501 people.
Htone Bo village administration chief, Saw Paw Htoo, spoke to Karen News.
“The only thing we see is that villagers are having more difficulties to earn a living. They [company] haven’t done anything they promised to do. We are only asking for what we deserve. We are not asking for too much.”
After being relocated from their village in November 2012, the Htone Bo villagers requested compensation of 1.5 million kyat and a plot of farmland to be given to each household. However, the Company’s Deputy Director Colonel Win Maung denied promising to provide the farmland.
A member of the village administration committee who doesn’t want to be named told Karen News.
“They [company] said that they will only give 1.5 million Kyat but they can’t provide us with a plot of farmland. If we don’t have farmland, how are we going to work and earn a living? We are now facing many difficulties because we’ve lost our farmlands. It will be more difficult for us in the long term.”
Karen News contacted officials from the Shwe Engery Company to put the villagers accusations to them and the company responded by saying that they have built a church, schools and two water-wells that can store up to 1,500 gallons of water for the village use.
A Htone Bo villager denied that the company provided the villagers with what they requested.
“They have repaired the road at the entrance of the village and built a bridge. But what we asked for is financial compensation and a plot of farmland. What they have provided is not what we needed for our survival.”