The Karen National Union is outraged that media reports said it had signed a Memorandum of Understanding with the with the government to construct a hydro-power dam as untrue.
A civil society group has published a comprehensive report on mistakes made by the developers of a highly ambitious project in Dawei in the hope the new government will address their concerns before allowing the project to continue.
The report urges the project’s Thai and Japanese investors to resolve problems affecting local communities before they continue building the special economic zone and deep-sea port in Tanintharyi Region.
Published on March 7 it outlines a range of issues dating back to the zone’s inception in 2008. The recurrent theme is a lack of transparency, dialogue or compensation based on the developers’ lack of respect for local communities and its reluctance to engage.
The World Bank Group (WBG) says it will not give any financial assistance to coal-fired power plant projects in spite of Myanmar’s increasing need for electricity. The WBG understood the country was in need of electricity but the WBG had no desire to give any financial aid to coal-fuel power stations.
As speculation mounts over whether the new government will back Myanmar’s divisive special economic zones, a National League for Democracy spokesperson says in theory such projects are good for the economy and will continue to receive support. However, the party will need to scrutinise details before deciding whether or not individual projects have a future.
On a chilly January morning, wearing just a t-shirt and a pair of jeans, 19-year-old Naing Naing Win rode his family’s old Honda 125cc motorbike along a dusty, sandy road. His destination was Mayin Gyi village, about half an hour from his village of Thit Toe Tauk, Tanintharyi Region, Myanmar. As a youth living near a planned massive industrial zone, he knew that the days of riding his old bike along dusty, undeveloped roads might be limited.
Naing Naing Win is a second year student from Dawei University majoring in English. Like other youths in the area, he has both worries and hopes about what the Dawei Special Economic Zone (DSEZ) will bring to his community. But he’s eager to be part of the process. He made that chilly morning motorcycle ride to attend a Community Research Training in Mayin Gyi, which he saw as a potential step toward engaging the company and government to make sure the project benefits local communities.
The Shan State Farmers’ Network (SSFN) will ask the incoming National League for Democracy government to suspend companies’ gold mining operations?strong in eastern Shan State, which the organisation says have polluted local villagers’ water resources.
A decade of mining in the Loi Kham hills has left around 300 acres of fields unusable, according to a joint press release from the SSFN and the Shan Human Rights Foundation (SHRF) published on March 3.
The two groups said they “urge the incoming NLD government to implement federal reform to end Nay Pyi Taw’s unilateral power to grant mining concessions in ethnic areas”.
ITALIAN-THAI Development (ITD) is forming a consortium with Chinese companies to pour investment into new infrastructure projects in Dawei Special Economic Zone (DSEZ), as land lease in the initial phase kicks off.
According to Somjetn Tinnapong, managing director of Myanmar Industrial Estate (MIE) – an ITD subsidiary responsible for the development of the 27-square kilometre initial phase – the consortium will consist of private and state-owned Chinese companies. Their focus will be on the 132-kilometre, four-lane road, which will require an investment of Bt13.5 billion and three ports that will cost US$400 million (Bt14 billion).
The Shan State Farmers’ Network (SSFN) and the Shan Human Rights Foundation (SHRF) issued a statement yesterday saying that they deplored renewed attempts by gold mining companies to buy the silence of villagers impacted by toxic mining waste in eastern Shan State, instead of responding to their demands to stop mining and restore their lands. – See more at: http://www.mizzima.com/news-domestic/gold-mining-companies-try-buy-silence-villagers-cbos#sthash.13r2lqiB.dpuf
Hla Ohn May still weeps when she takes the road past the twisted white piping of the gas terminal near the western Myanmar town of Kyaukphyu. The 46-year-old farmer and mother of five once owned land on this green strip perched above the blue waters of the Bay of Bengal.
Then she and fellow villagers were bought out by a consortium, which included the state-owned China National Petroleum Corporation and the Korean conglomerate Daewoo. Kyaukphyu is now the starting point for a pair of immense Beijing-backed transnational energy pipelines, turning these wild shores into what some are calling “China’s west coast”.
The development is a big part of fast-opening Myanmar’s efforts to exploit its position at the crossroads of Asia. The lush fields where Ms Hla Ohn May and other farmers used to plant rice and beans are mere industrial landscaping now, manicured behind fences by company workers in orange jumpsuits. Ms Hla Ohn May was paid Kt2.78m ($2,250 at current exchange rates) but feels she was short-changed for giving up the only productive asset she ever had.
The population of Myanmar is being urged to lend a hand in preparing the country for climate change.
Their country, despite low emission, is exposed to various climate hazards such as cyclones, heavy rain, flooding, extreme temperatures, drought and sea level rise.
In a seminar entitled “Post COP21: Prospects and Challenges for Myanmar”, Harjeet Singh, ActionAid’s international policymaker for climate change, has issued the need for action.
He said civil society and NGOs needed to help the government assess climate impacts and develop plans for adaptation and addressing damage; help generate awareness and develop ways to deal with crises; and conduct pilot projects on various sectors and document learning so that action could be scaled up.
A public seminar entitled “Myanmar’s Special Economic Zones (SEZs): Opportunities or Threats to Local Communities” attracted regional development specialists to Rangoon this week, including Penchom Saetang, Director of Ecological Alert and Recovery Thailand (EARTH).
In her work as a community and policy advocate, Saetang fights for corporate and government accountability concerning health and environmental problems from industrial pollution.
As Burma is developing three SEZs in Arakan State and Rangoon and Tenasserim divisions, respectively, problems have been highlighted concerning land confiscation, a lack of public consultation and forced relocation.
The Irrawaddy’s Yen Snaing spoke with Saetang about Thailand’s experience promoting industrialization, and what experiences Burma might be able to draw upon from its neighbor.
Construction of a road linking the Dawei deep-sea port in Myanmar with Kanchanaburi will be delayed after Japan determined that 15-degree inclines along seven stretches of the road would be unsafe for lorries.
Transport Minister Arkhom Termpittayapaisith said on Friday construction of the 138km road from the Dawei deep-sea port to Ban Phu Nam Ron in Kanchanaburi must be postponed.
The project was due to start in March.
The delay comes following an inspection by the Japan International Cooperation Agency (Jica).