The Union government has ignored local's wishes and signed a memorandum of understanding (MoU) with the Thoyo Thai Company allowing them to construct a coal fired power plant near Anndin Village in Mon State.
The Anndin Youth Group and Mon Multimedia Institute (M3i) made the announcement at a conference they held to analyse the different options available for the Anndin power station site at the Rehmonnya Hotel, in the Mon State capital Moulmein, on 7 October.
Previously, some of their members had been part of a group that went on a Thoyo Thai organised fact-finding tour to similar power stations in Thailand and Japan in December 2014. The fact-finding tour group included local representatives from the Anndin area, Hluttaw (parliament) representatives from Ye Township and government experts.
Min Seik Rot, who went on the fact finding tour, said: "In our report, we did not say that the coal-fired project should be implemented. And, when the company representatives came to Anndin [Village] the first time, they gathered locals and had a meeting. They took photos of the gathering with locals and said that the locals supported them. But in fact, the locals just went there to listen to what they said."
Mi Nilar Oo, an Anndin Youth Group representative, said: “We, the local people, have continuously opposed this project. The main objective of organizing this event is that we would like them [the government] to know our true wishes.”
The Union Government claimed that it gave Thoyo Thai permission to implement the project after considering the environmental impact assessment (EIA), the social impact assessment (SIA), a locals petition against the plant and the reports from the fact-finding tour group.
But Min Than Oo of M3i does not believe the government gave proper consideration to the fact-finding group's reports.
He said: “When we analyse the reports from the people who went to the coal fired projects in Thailand and Japan, we didn’t not find any reports that state they support the projects and that this project should be implemented.”
At the Rehmonnya Hotel conference M3i also showed a documentary they had made in which they interviewed people who had gone on the fact-finding trip and others who had refused to go on the trip
More than 70 people attended the conference. They included people interviewed in the documentary, locals from the Anndin area, Mon monks, members of civil society organisations (CSOs), media groups and representatives from Mon political parties and the New Mon State Party (NMSP) ethnic armed organisation.
Reported by Arkar
Edited in English by Mark Inkey for BNI