May 01, 2008

Shan: Sino-Burmese Dam Project Force Villagers to Work

Active ImageOver 350 people from 5 village tracts were required to go to the project site to repair the collapsed bank of the Shweli Hydropower Dam Project.

Below is an article published by Shanland:

On 21 April 2008, Man Tat based commander from Light Infantry Battalion 144, Captain Kyaw Than ordered villagers of Wangmeng, Hangkarm, Hinlong, Kawngkart and Wiangkang village tracts to repair the collapsed bank of the Shweli Hydropower Dam Project.

On 24 April 2008, a villager from Kawngkart village tract ran away from the project but the authorities caught him […]. Afterwards, the rest of the villagers also were beaten and given punishments.

"We did nothing wrong and we did not run away, but we were beaten too," said a villager in anonymity. "If we don’t' have people in our family to work there, we have to pay Kyat 10, 000 ($10)."

There were over 350 people from 5 village tracts at the project. The authorities announced that 70 people from each village tract were required to go to the project site. The junta is still eager to call more people for the repairing project, the source said.

The project was signed between Burmese Ministry of Electric Power and Chinese Yunnan Machinery Equipment Import and Export Company Limited (YMEC) in 2002. It was started in 2003, and the installed capacity of the project will be 600MW. The actual power supply will be 174.8 MW; the annual power output 4,033 GWh. The electricity will be transmitted to both Burma and China through 230 KV and 220 KV cables, according to a report from Palaung Youth Network Group.

The Shweli River, known by Shans and Palaungs as the Mao, is a main tributary of the Irrawaddy. Its sources lie in China's Yunnan province at 11,000 feet above sea level. The river runs past Burma's Muse and Namkham and flows into the Irrawaddy north of Mandalay. The project is near Man Tat village, 17 miles southwest of Namkham, Northern Shan State.