Bad investment

Published: Saturday 15 April 2006

Out: At large in Burma A recent environment impact report has called upon all foreign investors to stop plans to build dams on the Salween river in Myanmar.

The report -- Dammed by Burma's Generals -- prepared by the Karenni Development Research Group, a Thailand-based forum, raises serious concerns about the potential impact of the projects, particularly in view of the experience with the Lawpita hydropower plant in Karenni state .

Myanmar's military regime and the Thai government had signed a memorandum of understanding in December 2005 to build four dams along the Salween river. With likely investment from China, the dams will provide electricity for Thailand and revenue for Myanmar's military regime.

The report focuses on the proposed Weigyi Dam, one of four projects. It claims that if the dam is built, 26 villages and two towns in Karen and Karenni states will be submerged, impacting about 30,000 people.

An entire tribe, the Yintalai, will permanently lose their homeland and thousands will be displaced. The dam will also cause irreversible environmental damage to the region.

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