First Village Forcibly Relocated For Irrawaddy Myitsone Dam Project

Things at the contentious Irrawaddy Myitsone dam project in northern Burma have come to a head with the Burmese military junta forcibly relocating the first of the ethnic Kachin villages, said village sources.

The move comes a day after the Kachin Development Networking Group (KDNG) in an open letter to Hu Jintao, President of People’s Republic of China, requested yet again to put a stop to the dam project. He was urged to halt the project given apprehensions of the negative impact on millions of people downstream of the river.

The entire villagers in Mazup was forcibly relocated today to the junta's new place in Lungga Zup village, 18 miles north of Myitkyina by Burmese junta. Photo: Kachin News Group.

In a surprise move, the axe fell on Mazup Village, or Mazup Mare in Kachin, which houses 63 households, with over 150 people. All the villagers were shifted to the new house blocks of 40 x 60 sq-ft constructed by the authorities in Lungga Zup village, 18 miles north of Myitkyina, the capital of Kachin State, according to the sources.

Mazup village was located between Mali Hka River and N’Mai Hka River, near the confluence (Myitsone in Burmese) of the two rivers, 28 miles north of Myitkyina. The soil here is fertile and yields good crops, said villagers.

About 200 people--- dozens of government employees from different departments in Myitkyina, members of the junta-backed Union Solidarity and Development Association (USDA), Burmese Army officers and dozens of civilian workers, who have been ordered to help in the relocation, threw in their lot on the relocation activities, eyewitnesses told Kachin News Group.

Following frenetic activity they forcibly relocated all the villagers in trucks to the new place, added eyewitnesses.

The junta has already constructed 600 houses in new places in Lungga Zup for villagers to be relocated from the project site, said residents of the dam site.

On May 1, the junta’s Kachin State Administrative Office (Ya-Ya-Kha) or Kachin State Peace and Development Council (KSPDC) announced the relocation of all villages in the dam site in the wake of the serial bomb blasts at the site on April 17.

Meanwhile the junta is yet to identify the perpetrators of the blasts. Sources close to investigators in Myitkyina said “the perpetrators will never be identified.” Many people believe that the junta triggered the explosions to help it relocate villagers from the dam site amidst heightened security.

The Irrawaddy Myitsone dam is being constructed by state-owned China Power Investment Corporation (CPI) with financial and technical support jointly with the Burmese firm Asia World Company and the Ministry of Electric Power-1 since December 21, last year.

Source: Kachin News

Map location of Irrawaddy Myitsone Dam Project, Burma/Myanmar

Tags: Burma  Myanmar  dams  Kachin  relocation  

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