Villagers claim some headmen and businessmen are doing illegal logging without discussing it with the community between Tang Hpre village and Chyinghkrang village near Mali Hka River Confluence (Irrawaddy River Confluence).
Since July, they have started logging operations along the Mali Hka River Confluence near Myitkyina in Kachin state, said one local. The business men claim the wood will be used for a library which will be built on a relocation site.
“All of villagers are against the logging because it will cause a lot of environmental damage and there will be no wood left for residents.”
According to the villager, the men involved in the illegal logging are a Myitung Tang Ji Relocation Site Village headman, Union Solidarity and Development Party (USDP) member Myitung Naw Ja, Slg. Marip La Ram, and businessmen, U Byit Tu, Slg. Labang Sam Awng, and Slg. Lawaw Naw Mai.
Marip La Ram didn’t return Kachin News Group's phone calls regarding the allegations.
Villagers who were threatened when they publically opposed the logging operations suspect the forestry officials have been paid off as no-one has been penalized for the logging operations even though the officials already visited the area.
“The village headman told us they will log the forest at Chyinghkrang Bum Mountain to build the library in a relocation site. When we told him if you do that all of the wood will be gone, two other men yelled at us. They asked us if we could find the 3,000,000 kyats (US $3,428) for building the library?” a villager from Chyinghkrang told the KNG.
Residents claim the men have close ties with Asia World Company and China Power Investment (CPI). Apparently CPI gave Slg. La Ram five houses in the relocation site.
Ms. Ah Nan from Kachin Development and Networking Group (KDNG), which monitors operations in the confluence area, says the logging will affect residents in the area.
“The logging will have a negative impact for residents. There was also logging in the area before the start of a dam construction. Many gold mine and logging contracts were given out. But the government never conducted an environmental assessment to determine what effect they would have on the environment. There are no regulations in place to ensure that the livelihoods of the residents are protected from these operations.”