Kachin villagers pray that Myit Sone Dam stays shut

More than 100 villagers and Kachin based civil society groups held a prayer service to stop the Myit Sone Dam project on the Irrawaddy River and for displaced villagers to return home in Myitkyina, Kachin State last week.

Sha Khaung Tan Gon, a representative of the Kachin civil society groups and who participated in the prayer service held on International Day of Action for River on March 14, told Karen News.

“The residents and our civil society based organizations have gathered together to hold a prayer service to stop the [MyitSone] dam project and for those who were forced from their places to be able to go back and live in their homes.”

Sha Khaung Tan Gon says even though the Myit Sone projects has stopped for now, the China Power Investment Corporation’s (CPI) staff are still at the project location – residents are not able to move back into their villages.

Sha Khaung Tan Gon said villagers are living in two relocation sites – 80 households in Aung Myin Thar village and 40 households in the Maliran area. Villagers in the new relocation site, face difficulties earning a living and say they want to return their old villages.

Sha Kaung Tan Gon said.

“Relocated residents live on a small plot of land and their houses are built with soft wood, that will not last long. The worst thing is that there is no cultivation land for villagers to use, they cannot earn money to support their children or pay for education. When they were in their original villages, they could earn money by selling their crops.”

Sha Kaung Tan Gon said residents want a total stop to all the Myitsone dam projects on the Irrawaddy River, including seven hydro power projects and a gold mining operations that pollutes the Irrawaddy River.

The Kachin Development Network Group says the planned Myitsone dam project could produce 6,000 megawatts of electricity. Myit Sone Dam area is 18,000 square miles large and the height is 152-meter (500-foot) and the reservoir height is 299-meter (980-foot).

The China Power Investment Corporation (CPI) have planned to build seven dams on the Irrawaddy River for electricity for China.

On September 30, 2011, the Burma president U Thein Sein stopped the Myit Sone Dam on Irrawaddy River temporarily.

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