Article brought to you by: Catholic Online (www.catholic.org)

Thousands displaced by Tamanthi Dam in northern Myanmar

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)
April 1st, 2013
Catholic Online (www.catholic.org)

Construction on the Indian-financed Tamanthi Dam in northern Myanmar hasn't even begun, and yet more than 2,000 people have been displaced from their homes. The dam has also spurred friction between rival nations China and India. Human rights and environmentalists say that the dam is proving to be a disaster, the result of human ambition trampling over common, human concerns.

LOS ANGELES, CA (Catholic Online) - There are reports of 2,400 people reportedly forced from their homes at gunpoint in the Sagaing region. There is an estimated tens of thousands of others who would need to be removed.

Financed by India's National Hydroelectric Power Corporation, The Tamanthi Dam will be 80 meters high and flood 1,396 square kilometers, which is an area larger than Hong Kong. Local human rights groups say this will affect 6,880 hectares of fertile farmland, displacing a further 45,000 people.

One former person who lived near the Chindwin River say that the relocating people are facing many hardships, he says. Prospects for farming around their new homes are poor, unlike the opportunities provided by the fertile soil near the river, where the "fishing is good."

He says that "the government doesn't care." Those forced to relocate were given neither compensation nor new homes, and now with their farms gone, they have no choice but to take work as day laborers, cultivating and selling someone else's fruit and vegetables . if they can even find work.

"At present they can't say when the villagers will need to move and they can't say if it will not happen," he says. "They are very sad - they don't want to lose their homes."

Out of fear of retaliation by the military, he did not want to name the hamlet. Residents had been warned by soldiers stationed nearby not to speak out against the project under threat of fines and long jail sentences.

The Tamanthi Dam in the meantime is suffering the latest setback in a series of delays that have plagued it since the memorandum of understanding was signed back in 2004.

A detailed project report last year found the construction financially unfeasible without additional government backing from either the Indian or Myanmar government.

According to the deal, 80 percent of the 6,685 gigawatt hours generated annually would be allotted to India, with the remaining 20 percent to be used at the discretion of the Myanmar government.

Article brought to you by: Catholic Online (www.catholic.org)