Lemro Dam Project Not to Benefit Chin Locals in Paletwa Township
07 April 2012: A China-Burma dam project being constructed on the Lemro (locally called Phunglong) river in Paletwa Township, Chin State will not benefit the Chin locals in the region upon completion, according to the local community.
A source close to the Lemro Dam construction, a joint investment project between China and Burma starting in 2009, said that 90 percent of its generated electricity will be sold to Bangladesh and 10 percent profits will be siphoned off to Thein Sein’s government.
“The local villagers along the Lemro river are not aware of any possible impacts from the dam project. To the worse, the government of Chin State haven’t informed them of the situation even though Chief Minister Pu Hung Ngai visited the site on 27 January 2012,” one of the Dai-Chins, who monitors the project, told Chinland Guardian.
He said the construction has been in progress under the supervision of ten Chinese and one Burmese engineers from Shwetaung Hydro-power Co. Ltd, Junction Model and High Tech Company (Burma), China Datang Overseas Investment Co. Ltd (CDOIC) and Hydro China Xibei Engineering Company (China).
The construction sited around Thangthawng village, mostly populated by Dai Chins, has been carried out without conducting any environmental and social impact assessments, according to the Chin Human Rights Organization‘s (CHRO) sources.
It is believed that the project will bring negative impacts to the local community, affecting their livelihood as the people much depends on the Lemro river for transportation throughout the year.
“The people from that area do not agree with the construction of dam along the river because it is the only river they rely on and they use this river to commute for all seasons. They would like to know both the advantages and disadvantages of the project when it’s completed,” said one of the Chin leaders in Paletwa Township
“This project must be done in a way that will benefit not only the government but also the local people. Otherwise, this will not bring development but destruction to our ways of life in the long run,” said the Chin leader, who asks not to be named.
Reporting by Thawng Zel Thang