Tag Archives: villagers

Aung San Suu Kyi backs Burma dam protesters

11 Aug

Aung San Suu Kyi has urged the Myanmar and Chinese governments to re-examine the project on the Irrawaddy River

Burma pro-democracy leader Aung San Suu Kyi has joined forces with environmentalists and minority groups with an appeal for a rethink of a large dam project.

Suu Kyi urged the Myanmar and Chinese governments to re-examine the project on the Irrawaddy River in the interest of national and international harmony.

The Nobel peace prize winner called the waterway “the most significant geographical feature of our country.”

Environmental groups, members of the Kachin ethnic minority and other people living along the river say the Myanmar-China Myitsone Hydroelectric Project in northern Kachin state will displace villagers and upset the ecology of the important food source.

The 3.6 billion dollar (£3.1 billion) dam being built by China in the Kachin heartland is expected to flood an area the size of Singapore.

The Burmese government has not said how much of the energy will be sold to China.

In her appeal, Suu Kyi said some 12,000 people from 63 villages have been relocated and it is not clear whether they will be fairly compensated.

The government said only 2,146 people from five villages had been relocated.

For decades, several ethnic groups have waged guerrilla wars for greater autonomy, including more control over resources in their regions. In March, fighting broke out between the 8,000-strong Kachin militia and the government.

That fighting was related to dams and other large projects being built by China.

Cross-posted from here

Niger Delta villagers go to the Hague to fight against oil giant Shell

6 Aug

Oil spill on the shores of the Niger Delta swamps of Bodo, a village in Niger's oil-producing Ogoniland. Photograph: Pius Utomi Ekpei/AFP/Getty Images

By John Vidal

Excerpts below. To read full article go to source: Cross-posted from here

Goi is now a dead village. The two fish ponds, bakery and chicken farm that used to be the pride and joy of its chief deacon, Barrisa Tete Dooh, lie abandoned, covered in a thick black layer. The village’s fishing creek is contaminated; the school has been looted; the mangrove forests are coated in bitumen and everyone has left, refugees from a place blighted by the exploitation of the region’s most valuable asset: crude oil.

Last Thursday, a long-awaited and comprehensive UN study exposed the full horror of the pollution that the production of oil has brought to Ogoniland over the last 50 years.

The UN report showed that oil companies and the Nigerian government had not just failed to meet their own standards, but that the process of investigation, reporting and clean-up was deeply flawed in favour of the firms and against the victims. Spills in the US are responded to in minutes; in the Niger delta, which suffers more pollution each year than the Gulf of Mexico, it can take companies weeks or more.

Goi, 40 miles from Port Harcourt, is a typical case. Just a few miles from where Shell first found oil in Ogoniland in 1958, it is only 20 miles from Bane, the ancestral home of Ogoni writer and leader Ken Saro-Wiwa. People from Goi joined the great Ogoni protest march of 1994, when one in three people from the small kingdom of 900,000 rose peacefully against the company, preventing it from working any of its 30 wells in the area. Two years later, Saro-Wiwa and eight Ogoni leaders were tried on a fabricated murder charge and executed.

On Wednesday, Shell formally accepted responsibility in British law for two significant spills in nearby Bodo. Those were rare victories. More than 1,000 court cases have been taken against Shell for pollution in the last 30 years, but almost all are rejected, settled for a few dollars or remain mired in the legal system for years. Even when the courts rule against the company and fine it millions, it is possible for it to appeal, with legal delays draining communities of cash. One case against Shell taken by people in Goi is still in the courts after 14 years.

For full article go here

Four officials taken hostage by Himachal villagers freed

23 Jun

cross posted from here

Indo-Asian News Service
June 22, 2011

Shimla, June. 22 — Four government functionaries associated with a mega hydropower project in Himachal Pradesh’s Kinnaur district [India] were taken hostage by villagers protesting over environmental issues and released after a day in captivity Wednesday, officials said.

The protesters were demanding acceptance of their demands by state-run Himachal Pradesh Power Corporation Limited (HPPCL) executing a mega run-of-the-river hydropower project on a Satluj tributary.

“All the four government functionaries, including three senior officials of the HPPCL who were kept under house arrest by villagers since Tuesday, were released on the HPPCL’s assurance that most of their demands would be accepted,” Sub-Divisional Magistrate Naresh Thakur told IANS over phone.

He said the villagers demands included grant of construction contracts to locals and steps to prevent deterioration of environment.

The project of 130 MW is called Kashang hydropower project. It is being made on Kashang rivulet, some 275 km from state capital Shimla, and is being funded by the Asian Development Bank.

HPPCL General Manager S.P. Gupta said the released hostages included project’s Executive Engineer C.L. Dhiman along with a senior research fellow of the Himachal Pradesh University. They had been kept in captivity at the ‘panchayat ghar’ in Pangi village, the second largest in the district with a population of over 2,500 people.

The ministry of environment and forests has already granted an environmental clearance to the project. Published by HT Syndication with permission from Indo-Asian News Service. For any query with respect to this article or any other content requirement, please contact Editor at htsyndication@hindustantimes.com

Copyright 2011 HT Media Ltd.All Rights Reserved
Indo-Asian News Service

UK Mining Giant Vedanta allegedly brands the Dongria Kondh “terrorists”

22 Mar


An extremely disturbing allegation has been made against the UK mining giant Vedanta Resources plc. According to the following report, paramilitaries were told at meeting sponsored by Vedanta “to warn Dongria Kondh villagers not to oppose Vedanta else they will be branded Maoists (terrorists) and then killed.”

Note: from minesandcommunities.org In order to protect the security of the seasoned, Orissa-based, investigative journalist who sent us this report, we have withheld their identity.

Read the rest of this article here.

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