Govt unclear over who to compensate in Shwegyin hydropower dispute
FARMERS in Bago Region’s Shwegyin township who were displaced by a hydropower project have not yet received compensation because the involved parties have yet to come to an agreement on who exactly was impacted.
The drain-off from the plant forced many people from their homes and farms but currently there are two conflicting lists as to who should receive compensation, said Union Minister for Electricity and Energy U Pe Zin Tun.
The projected was launched by the previous military government in 2000. It began generating electricity in 2011. The government has said it will pay compensation to residents whose gardens, yards and farmlands were confiscated when the project was being built, but it is still scrutinising who should receive the money, the minister said on July 25.
In 2012, a group led by local U Cho Win complained to the Pyidaungsu Hluttaw’s Confiscated Land Investigation Commission that aside from Danipha, Lower Mezar and Kyautnaga villages, which were relocated when the project started, they cannot find any evidence of compensation, either in cash or relocation plots, given to residents impacted by the project’s drain-off.
In total, 2482 acres of land were lost, according to a complaint letter sent by the group. Displacement included 251 people from 59 households in Lower Mezar village, 171 people in 60 households in Kyautpha village, and 378 farmers, it said.
In response to the letter, an investigation team was sent to the area in June 2015. The team met with the Township Farmland Management and Statistics Department, a peacemaking committee from the Karen National Union (KNU), and the local leader U Cho Win, U Pe Zin Tun said. “The investigation team compared the list submitted in the original complaint letter with the list of the KNU and found them to be very different,” he said.
Therefore, negotiations over the correct data and compensation rates are still ongoing and no payouts have been made.
“In addition to the initial lists of confiscated lands, there was another, extra list found after the investigation,” U Pe Zin Tun said. “An investigation of why there is an extra list is needed. Compensation will be paid out based on the collected lists. Therefore, hluttaw representatives have to work together with the ministry. Our side needs to proceed without partiality.”
Pyithu Hluttaw representative Saw La Lay Saw of Shwegyin township has asked that the investigation be concluded promptly and wondered whether compensation would come in the form of new land or cash.