Karen Villagers Blockade Dawei Supply Road

Villagers angry with a Thai company for not paying them ‘promised compensation’ have stopped vehicles from delivering supplies to the $60 billion Dawei project in southern Burma.

Villagers from Kaw Htee Lor (Thebyutchaung) east of Dawei, in Southern Burma blockaded the road to protest against the Italian-Thai Development Company (ITD) for refusing to pay compensation for properties damaged caused by road construction.

Naw Blay Blaw, a Kaw Htee Lor villager spoke to Karen News about the protest.

“On September 9, villagers erected a blockade on the ITD road starting at Kaw Htee Lor to a place west of Ta Ta Lu.”

The Blay Blaw explained why Kaw Htee Lor villagers decided to block the road.

“ITD did not give villagers the compensation that they had promised. The road construction also polluted the villagers’ water sources. The villagers blocked the road and demanded that 400 million kyat (around $400,000) be paid to the 30 Karen villagers whose land and plantation were damaged by the end of September.”

The road is currently used for by ITD for transporting building supplies between Pu Nam Rong in Thailand to the Dawei Deep Sea Port Project in Burma.

A local KNU leader who requested that his name is withheld said that the ITD company had urgently requested help from the Karen National Union, but so far the Mergui-Tavoy District office had refused to get involved. The local KNU office said that in the past the ITD had shown a lack of cooperation and respect for local KNU leaders and for the local communities.

Villagers claim that the ITD has created a poor image with local people and local KNU leaders beacsue of its failure to communicate with communities affected by its construction projects.

ITD is a Thai owned company responsible for developing the $60 billion Dawei Development Project in Southern Burma.

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