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Coal-fire plant fuels concern in Mon State

The inner workings of a coal-fired power plant. (IMAGE: Public domain, US Tennessee Valley Association)

Several civil society groups in Mon State have united in opposition to a proposed coal-fired power plant.

The Mon Youth Forum (MYF) and Ye Town Social Assistance Group claim the 1,200-megawatt plant could cause extensive and irreversible environmental damage.

Operated by Thailand-based Toyo-Thai Corporation (TTCPCL), the project is planned for a 500-acre plot near Ye Township’s Endin village, and is expected to burn 12,000 tons of coal each day for 30 years.

Representatives of TTCPCL and the Mon State ministry of electric power visited Endin on 25 April to give a presentation to villagers about the project, explaining that the plant requires an investment of US$2.5 billion and will run on a 30-year contract.

Attendees were not satisfied with the presentation, according to Min Soe Thein, a member of MYF.

“We are especially worried about environmental damage,” said Min Soe Thein. “Most locals rely on agriculture and fishing. Our livelihoods will be threatened if the soil gets polluted or if fish start dying.”

He also said that land compensation schemes were completely inadequate; while some payments were offered for lands strictly within the project’s parameters, nearby affected lands remain unaccounted for in the project planning.

The MYF estimated that seven villages will feel effects of the development. Furthermore, said Min Soe Thein, the representatives informed the local population that the facility will employ several thousand people, far more workers than the local population could provide. This has led to fears that a rapid influx of migrant workers could threaten the culture and traditions of the area.