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Villagers near Myitsone Dam ordered to relocate

 
Chiang Mai (Mizzima) – Residents in Tanhpre Village near Burma’s Miytsone Dam project have been ordered to move to a government-constructed village within 10 days or face criminal charges, say villagers.
 
A Kachin Roman Catholic Church in Tanhpre village near the Myitsone Dam project. Photo: Kachin News GroupMore than 20 villagers from Tanhpre were detained on Tuesday and released later that night.  District head Khin Maung Cho summoned them on Wednesday morning to his office and read an order issued by Vice President Thiha Thura Tin Aung Myint Oo ordering them to be resettled.
 
The order told the villagers to move to Aungmyintha village, located nearby, no later than March 17. If they failed to move, the government would take legal action, said a villager who attended the meeting.
 
“The district head told us to demolish our houses and to move within 10 days. We have to sign a pledge not to live in Tanhpre at Myitsone,” said a villager.
 
The Myitkyina District Administration Office told Mizzima is was true that the villagers were warned, but declined to provide more details.

Attorney Aung Thein said that if the villagers failed to move, they could be charged under section 188 of the penal code for failure to obey a government order and sentenced from six months to one year.
 
A resident of Aungmyintha village said that there is no arable land and no pasture suitable for animals in the government village, and the transplanted residents have difficulties providing for themselves.
 
“We cannot do any business here [Aungmyintha village]. In Tanhpre, we can pan for gold and sell vegetables gathered from the jungle to support our families,” she told Mizzima.
 
On February 24, the residents held a prayer ceremony to mark the suspension of the Myitsone Dam project that was attended by members of the 88-Generation students, who had campaigned against the hydropower dam project. On Wednesday, government officials questioned five residents who had helped organize the ceremony.
 
88-Generation Students group leader Htay Kywe said that the government should not put pressure on the villagers regarding the prayer ceremony.  
 
“It’s a crying shame that they were asked questions because we, 88-Generation Students, attended the prayer ceremony,” Htay Kywe told Mizzima. He said the government should live up to its pledge to create a democratic state and to treat villagers’ concerns seriously and without bias.
Last Updated ( Thursday, 08 March 2012 17:01 )  

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