Holt re­quest on Sa­gaing dam

The Myanmar Times - - Business -

A RE­QUEST to sus­pend con­struc­tion of a small-scale hy­dropower dam in Sa­gaing’s Ho­ma­lin town­ship has been sent to re­gional par­lia­ment, as of­fi­cials say the con­struc­tion firm be­hind the project has fallen well be­hind its sched­ule and has failed to ap­ply proper en­vi­ron­men­tal safe­guards or de­cent com­pen­sa­tion to house­holds af­fected by the dam.

Lo­cal firm In­ter­na­tional Power Gen­er­a­tion (IPG) was awarded the con­tract to build the Nam Mar Lone hy­dro dam by the for­mer gov­ern­ment and be­gan con­struc­tion in March. The re­gional gov­ern­ment had com­mit­ted more than K6000 in in­vest­ment into the 600-megawatt-gen­er­at­ing dam project, which had been slated for com­ple­tion in 2018.

In Au­gust, the com­pany re­quested the re­lease of fur­ther fund­ing, claim­ing to have reached a mile­stone of 25 per­cent com­ple­tion of the project. But fol­low­ing a re­cent site visit by Sa­gaing par­lia­men­tar­i­ans, a re­quest has been sent to the re­gional gov­ern­ment, ask­ing for the project to be holted un­til an in­ves­ti­ga­tion has been com­pleted.

“The gov­ern­ment is re­spon­si­ble to pay if the com­pany has def­i­nitely com­pleted 25pc of the project,” said U Soe Oo, Sa­gaing’s min­is­ter for plan­ning and fi­nance. “But the com­pany has no dig­nity, be­cause it was ask­ing for money with­out com­plet­ing 25pc,” he said.

The com­pany has com­pleted barely 8.5pc of the project, U Soe Oo said, yet was paid K600 mil­lion by the for­mer gov­ern­ment in March, as it had claimed at the time to have com­pleted 10pc of the project.

Res­i­dents liv­ing near the project had not been in­formed of the im­pact or of­fered ap­pro­pri­ate com­pen­sa­tion, de­spite the com­pany ac­quir­ing 3 acres of lo­cal farm­land, U Soe Oo said.

The com­pany had not re­ceived the proper per­mis­sion from the Depart­ment of Forestry, de­spite it op­er­at­ing in forested ar­eas, Sa­gaing Re­gion MP U Than said.

IPG rep­re­sen­ta­tive U Myat Htut de­clined to com­ment yes­ter­day.

Of­fi­cials said they have sent their ini­tial find­ings to par­lia­ment for re­view.

– Trans­la­tion by San Layy

‘But the com­pany has no dig­nity, be­cause it was ask­ing for money with­out com­plet­ing 25 per­cent.’

U Soe Oo

Sa­gaing min­is­ter

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