Tanintharyi re­jects bid to ex­port sand to Mal­dives

The Myanmar Times - - Business - SU PHYO WIN su­phy­owin@mm­times.com

THE Tanintharyi Re­gion gov­ern­ment has re­jected a re­cent pro­posal by Salt In­ter­na­tional Com­pany to ex­tract sand from Myeik dis­trict and ex­port it to the Mal­dives, the re­gion’s chief min­is­ter told The Myan­mar Times yes­ter­day.

The com­pany sub­mit­ted the pro­posal in July, ask­ing for a 15-year per­mit to take sand from a nat­u­ral coastal sand­bank in Py­in­pon­e­gyi vil­lage, Pu­law town­ship.

As an in­cen­tive, Salt In­ter­na­tional said it would share the prof­its 5050 with the lo­cal gov­ern­ment, con­tribut­ing around US$250 mil­lion in pay­ments over five years, Chief Min­is­ter Daw Lae Lae Maw (NLD; Thay­atchaung) said yes­ter­day by tele­phone.

The com­pany also said it would help the gov­ern­ment to gen­er­ate elec­tric­ity in Palauk town, Pu­law town­ship, for 50 years us­ing the prof­its from its busi­ness, ac­cord­ing to a let­ter to the re­gional gov­ern­ment of­fice.

“We re­jected the pro­posal in the sec­ond week of Au­gust dur­ing a re­gional gov­ern­ment meet­ing, be­cause of lo­cal op­po­si­tion,” Daw Lae Lae Maw said.

A spokesper­son for Salt In­ter­na­tional – a lo­cally reg­is­tered com­pany based in Yangon – de­clined to com­ment on the re­jec­tion.

The com­pany toured a num­ber of vil­lages ear­lier this month to present the pro­ject and ex­plain how the

‘Peo­ple have been con­cerned ... the pro­ject could leave com­mu­ni­ties ex­posed to storms.’

U Wai Phyo Dawei Ac­tive Youth

ben­e­fits would be shared with lo­cal com­mu­ni­ties.

Alarmed about the en­vi­ron­men­tal dam­age the pro­ject could cause, res­i­dents posted their con­cerns on lo­cal web­sites. The news spread fast, said U Wai Phyo, founder of Dawei Ac­tive Youth.

The re­gional gov­ern­ment de­cided to hold a press con­fer­ence yes­ter­day, to clear up the ru­mours, he said. “The peo­ple have been con­cerned since mid-Au­gust that the pro­ject could leave com­mu­ni­ties ex­posed to storms and floods.”

He said the re­gion needs elec­tric­ity, but that en­vi­ron­men­tal pro­tec­tion is just as im­por­tant. Com­pa­nies must share the ben­e­fits of their in­vest­ments with lo­cal peo­ple, he added.

“Peo­ple around that area are ben­e­fit­ing from small-scale fish­ing at the sand­bank and they were afraid their liveli­hoods would be ru­ined by the pro­ject.”

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