Speaking at a press conference in Rangoon on Thursday representatives of the Chinese firm behind the stalled Myitsone dam repeatedly claimed that if the highly unpopular project is restarted it will be built and operated in a transparent fashion.
The 152-meter high dam, which was set to be built on the upper Irrawaddy river in Kachin state was suspended in September 2011 by a decree from President Thien Sein. Over the past two years China Power Investment and its Burmese subsidiary have pushed hard to resume the project.
"We will inform the people about everything we do on this project," said the head of CPI's Burmese subsidiary, Li Guanghua. Li and several of his colleagues from the Upstream Ayeyawady Confluence Basin Hydropower Co. Ltd (ACHC), addressed reporters at the Sedona Hotel for the official launch of a corporate social responsibility report. During their presentation they stressed that the dam will be good for the country.
"The current government was elected by the people and I hope that the government that was elected by the people will make the right decision," said Li. Despite Li's pledge about transparency, Radio Free Asia reported that during the press conference Li and his colleagues failed to “provide details about how ACHC would ensure that the public remain informed about the dam’s progress”.
CPI provides electricity at Myitsone relocation camp but villagers not impressed
Former residents of the villages forcibly relocated to make way for the Myitsone dam project who are now living at the Aung Myin Thar “model village” recently received an increase in the number of hours they receive electricity.
Previously Aung Myin Thar received electricity from a generator for two hours a day, in late November CPI began sending electricity from a hydroelectric dam in Chipwe Nge dam to the relocation camp. The model village now receives electricity for about 5 hours a day. Villagers tell the Kachin News Group that they aren't really thrilled about CPI's latest act of corporate social responsibility because their lives are still very difficult at the relocation camp and they still can't go back to their village even though the project has been officially suspended.
“Our Life is not improved by the electricity because only a few families have devices like rice cookers, TVs and refrigerators that use electricity. Most families don’t have these things. And they don’t have any business that to uses electricity, so it’s not so useful. They don’t need to buy candles, this is the only useful thing”, a villager told KNG.
Many of the villagers have not been able to earn as much money as they did from their old farms. Unlike their old villages. Aung Myin Thar, does not have good soil conditions and the farmers have great difficulty growing anything on the small plots they now have access to.
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