Tue 19 Mar 2013
Filed under: Business / Trade,Human Rights,Inside Burma,News
Many still remember that one of the most famous dams built in Shan State known as Tasang. The construction of Tasang Dam on Salween was started in 2010, approximately 10 km from Mongton, southern Shan State. Recently, the Tasang Dam has been relocated and renamed “Mongton Hydroelectric Power Project”. According to Shan Saphawa, a Shan environmental organization, reports that due to this project, not less than 8 townships located along the Salween River would be submerged in the water; and now relocation of the locals have been started.
“At the site, there are 400 people recruited for the construction of Mongton Hydroelectric Power Project. And green houses and halls have been built for the construction workers. And about 123 villages along the Salween River would be ordered to relocate. Even now, some small villages where Burma Army were used to routinely patrolling have already begun the relocation,” said Sai Kher Seng, the Shan Saphawa organization.
Since late 2011 the origin Tasang Dam project which located between Mongpan and Mongton was suspended; and now the dam project is being built at a new location, known as upper Salween, a 16 km away from the former project site.
In Mongpan, Kengtawng Hydroelectric Power has been in operation; but there is no electric power in Mongton and Mongsat yet. To protect against the protests by the people in that construction site, the name has been arbitrary changed to “Mongton Hydroelectric Power Project”, said sources close to the government authorities.
With regard to the project, Sai Khur Seng of Shan Saphawa Environmental Organization said, “we should be critical for this project building; what we would get and what we would have to sacrifice. Once, the hydroelectric power is in operation, 90% of the power will be sold to EGAT, a Thailand based company. Only 10% will be used in the country (even not sure for the locals). What is meant for 10%? If that serves the whole region of east Salween is reasonable to consider a deal. Otherwise, in case of natural disasters such as when the dam breaks, earthquakes, or heavy rains, not only Mongton and Mongsat would be flooded but Mongpan, Langkhur, Kunhin, Kali, Mongpu Long, and Mongpu Awn also would be submerged in the water. I would like people in Shan State to think twice to take this fact seriously in consideration.
The construction of Tasang Project was halted when 3 Chinese engineers who were responsible for the Project development were kidnapped by un-identified group in May 2011. They were kept at undisclosed location for more than three months and were released in mid-August 2011. In the early 2013 the project was re-started with a new name “Mongton Hydroelectric Power Project”. Upon completion of the project, the system will be able to produce the electric power up to 7,100 megawatts. However, since the project begun in 1996-todate, the project has resulted 1,500 villages disserted or relocated and over 300,000 people displaced, the Shan Sapawa Environmental Organization reports.