Kunhing Villagers Prepared to Stand Up to Govt, Developers, Corruption in Fight Against Salween Dam Project

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.”

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