New Delhi (Mizzima) – The well-known writer Dagon Taryar, 93, has issued his third “peace appeal” which strongly opposes the Myitsone Dam project to be built upstream on the Irrawaddy River.
The appeal issued on Monday said that the Irrawaddy River has been badly damaged by human activities, and Myitsone Dam will further damage the beauty of the area and also undermine the chances of peace in the region.
Dagon Taryar said the Irrawaddy River has existed naturally since immemorial times and the entire country owns it.
“The Irrawaddy River existed when Burma appeared as a country,” he said. “It is very long. It is the mega river. It belongs to the whole country. It doesn’t belong to China.”
The Kachin Independence Organization sent an open letter to Chinese President Hu Jintao on March 16 that said the Myitsone Dam issue could lead to renewed civil war and should be suspended.
Similarly, Aung San Suu Kyi issued an appeal on the Myitsone Dam project on August 11, which said the river had many problems, and she appealed for people to work to resolve the issues with the current government.
“By joining hands together, we can resolve all problems of environment, economics, technology and politics,” Suu Kyi said in the letter.
However, the government minister for Electrical Power No. 1, Zaw Min, told a government workshop in September on the environmental impact of hydropower plant projects on the Irrawaddy River Valley that the Myitsone Dam project would continue based on governmental policies and the actions of Parliament.
Earlier, Rakhine Nationalities Development Party General-Secretary Oo Hla Saw told Mizzima that if the decision on the dam project were left up to Parliament and the government only, it would not be fair.
“I don’t think it will be fair if the decision on Myitsone Dam project is made by the Parliament only. The ruling party dominates Parliament and this Parliament cannot guarantee the freedom of individual MPs,” he said.
Writer Dagon Taryar said the Burmese people should be allowed to join in deciding the issue.
“Who started this project is important,” he said. “Who started it?”
The Myitsone Dam project began in December 2009 at the time of the military junta led by Senior-General Than Shwe. China will receive 90 per cent of the 6,000 megawatts of electricity generated by the dam, which is a joint project carried out by the No. 1 Electricity Power Ministry and China Power Investment (CPI) Corporation. The project is being financed by China.