The Italian-Thai Development Company and Windfall Energy Services of Singapore signed a memorandum of understanding with the Burmese military government on October 9, 2008 to build the 600-megawatt Tenasserim hydroelectric project on the Tenasserim River.
Saw Aye Toe, a community leader said The Italian-Thai Company first came in October 2009 to survey a site for the dam.
From the end of 2008 until May 2011 Italian-Thai surveyors and Burmese soldiers carried out a series of surveys on the Tenasserim River. The area is under the administration of the Karen National Union’s Mergui-Tavoy District office.
Saw Lay Kwe said he told the company engineers the community did not want development that would ruin their way of life.
“I told the head engineer, I told him we don’t accept your coming to do this. We don’t need this, but he said you must accept this. He repeated many times you cannot oppose this. I was afraid to argue on my own.”
Saw Lay Kwe said the engineers took their equipment and went to Pa Yo Kwee where they measured the water level before returning to Ler Pa Doh village.
Villagers say two potential dam sites are marked on the river – an upper dam site near the villages of Ler Pa Doh and a lower dam site near Mo Ro.
The villagers’ claim the Italian-Thai company did not consulted with them about the dam proposal. They allege the company did not initially talk to the KNU, but only approached them when earlier surveys were stopped by the KNU – the KNU’s Mergui-Tavoy District has given permission for the survey.
The Italian-Thai Company was awarded the contract for the mega Tavoy Development Project that according to the MoU is intended to develop the region as a trading hub for in Tavoy. The MoU states that development of a new port, industrial estate, road and railway links with Thailand, petrochemical complex, an oil refinery, steel mill, oil pipelines and a hydo-power project.
The has been no official announcement that the energy produced by the proposed Tenasserim River hydro-power will be exported. Some analysts claim the Tenasserim hydro-electric dam could possibly be a supply for the proposed Tavoy industry zone.http://www.youtube-nocookie.com/v/miK3Le7UF3o?version=3&hl
January 11th, 2011 http://monnews.org/?p=1569