Armed group blocks hydropower project

The United Wa State Army (UWSA) is protesting against a survey for the proposed Mongtong hydropower project at Tasang, claiming the area is too politically unstable, according to the Shan State Rivers Organisation.

It said UWSA denied a request from SMEC, a professional engineering company from Australia, to take a survey at Tasang, a Wa self-administrated zone, on July 6. 

The UWSA apparently replied that it would block the survey because of political turmoil in the area, saying the company should approach on another occasion.

The company cannot proceed without the UWSA’s consent.

The statement said villagers gave the survey team gifts.

SMEC called a meeting at a village monastery on July 18 and about 30 villagers attended. If the project is implemented, the area will be submerged. 

The China Gezhouba Group, Thailand’s Sinohydro Corporation, China Southern Power Grid Company, China Three Gorges Project Corporation and the UK’s Malcolm Dunstan and Associates are developing the project.

Sources said the dam would be 241-metres high and capable of generating 7,000 megawatts. A total of 90 per cent of electricity would be sold to China and Thailand.