Cement Factory Raises New Fears of Land Confiscation and Pollution

Residents of Mi Kayin village, Hpa-an, Karen State, are once again united to oppose a proposed cement factory planned to be built near their village by the Myanmar Ji Dong Cement Company Limited.

Saw Nyan Win, a Mi Kayin villager said in an interview with Karen News that residents are planning to take their opposition to the proposal to build a cement factory to the Karen National Union.

Saw Nyan Win told Karen News that residents plan to lobby KNU Brigade 1 officials from Thaton district and cement company officers when they come to meet with Mi Kayin residents at the village monastery at the end of April.

“The majority of the villagers disagree with the proposal for building a cement factory near our village. We will oppose their proposal when they [KNU and Company officials] come and meet with us. There are many disputes over land and we have concerns about health problems if the factory is built.”

Mi Kayin villagers said that they are prepared to oppose the Karen National Union Brigade 1 position in a letter released recommending plans to construct the factory.

Karen National Union (KNU) Thaton District Liaison official, Saw Kyaw Myint, told Karen News that under the construction plan – if it goes ahead – the company will provide education, health, job opportunities, water, electricity, road and bridge constructions.

Saw Chit Lwin, the Mi Kayin village administrative officer told Karen News.

“The case of building the cement factory is just for the development. It will be good if there is no environmental impact for the villagers. If there are negative impacts, it is not good.”

If the cement factory is constructed by the Myanmar Ji Dong Cement Co. Ltd it will have a capacity of 10,000 tons.

Residents from Mi Kayin village area including Pawdawmu and Kyain Pawdawmu villages together with more than 1,400 monks have submitted a signed letter opposing the construction project to the relevant government departments on May 17, 2013.

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