Villagers from Kunhing on the upper Salween River are strongly opposed to the Mong Ton Dam project that they say will destroy their way of life. The villagers released a statement on the 30th April listing their opposition to the damming of the Salween.
“Our ‘thousand island’ Kunhing township, is one of the 16 townships that will be flooded by the Mong Ton hydropower project, the villagers said in their statement and pointed out that as the “as the flood zone is 262 square miles, it will be greatly hazardous to our community so, we strongly reject the [dam] project.”
The Kunhing villagers said that a number of historical and important traditional sites would be destroyed. “The Ho Leung pagoda (established in 666, Myanmar calendar), and other historical sites in Tar Kaw, Hsai Mong, and Keng Kham, including the
Keng Lom Palace and Hsai Khao Palace.” The villagers said that they feared that they would lose their “traditional customs, rich natural resources, and our thousand islands – all of these sacred sites and things of importance would be destroyed.” The Kunhing villagers said that the dam would be damaging to “the lives of the people who have lived in this area for generations.”
The villagers said in their statement that the “Kunhing people understand that the dam will not benefit the local people. The villagers pointed that they understood that “local people would face all kinds of negative impacts and dangers.”
The Kunhing villagers demanded “all that projects on the Salween river must be stopped, as there is no stable ceasefire agreement and no political guarantees at this time.”
The Kunhing people said that they “will strongly oppose any action to promote implementation of the Mong Ton hydropower project by the government, Ministries, investing companies and organizations, including holding public meetings and campaigning, paying money or bribing, either directly or indirectly.”