Myanmar: revived factory plans draw protesters

Myanmar: revived factory plans draw protesters
Published: 30 March 2016

Tagged Under: Myanmar 

Hundreds of locals in the Karen State capital Hpa-an gathered on Tuesday to voice objections to a recently-revived proposal there to develop a limestone quarry and cement factory, which was put on hold two years ago pending public consultation.

Protestors demanded a scrapping of the project, slated to produce 5000tpd of cement in Mi Karen village, part of Hpa-an Township. Residents from dozens of villages fear the cement project, near Kawt Phyan Mountain, will have negative environmental and public health impacts if it goes forward.

The villagers said they went to listen to Maj Chit Thu of a Karen Border Guard Force, who held a meeting on 19  March in a hotel in Hpa-an, where the rebel-turned-businessman shared details of the project. Villagers were concerned that in addition to environmental and health consequences, the project would involve land confiscation.

There are already two cement factories in Hpa-an run by the government and the military’s Union of Myanmar Economic Holdings Limited (UMEHL), which have a combined production capacity of 4900tpd. Both factories are located in Myaingkalay town, with the new project just a few miles away from the current operations, according to the Karen Environmental and Social Action Network (KESAN).