The Kachin State government discussed the disputed Myitsone dam project with Li Jianwei, the managing director of Upstream Ayeyarwady Confluence Basin Hydropower Company Limited (ACHC), on March 9.
“The Chinese said that they would take care of the displaced villagers and had provided around 1,600 rice bags to them last year. About US$0.81 billion of cash was handed out. Power is being distributed and environmental conservation measures are being carried out. They visited displaced villagers yesterday,” said Hla Aung, minister for environmental conservation.
“The Chinese delegation led by Li Jianwei asked the Kachin State government what it needed. Our chief minister said that a group of experts capable of making decisions on Myitsone had been formed. Only after the commission has done the work will it be announced how to go ahead. If the project continues to be suspended, they will face loses,” Hla Aung said.
“We have to draft an internationally designated environmental management project. We said our minerals are gradually disappearing,” Hla Aung added.
The Myitsone dam project has displaced 47 villages with 10,500 people from 1,900 households. Aungmyintha village has 2,075 people with 317 households and Maliyan village have 500 people with 120 households. Most of the villagers now face difficulties making a living.
The Myanmar Environmental Institute arrived in Kachin State on November 20 to study the socio-economic impact, natural resources, loss of farmland, reduction of fishing and lost income.
A 12-member commission reviewing the project arrived in Myitkyina in September and carried out field trips to Myitsone for three days.