Locals erect No-Coal billboards

28 January 2016 | Mon News Agency
Local residents in Parlain Region, Ye Township, Mon State, have set up billboards in opposition against the coal-fired project proposed by the Toyo-Thai Corporation Public Company Limited (TTCL), on January 24.
The poster-making was organized to educate locals about the value of natural resources in the Parlain region. The protest group are pushing for unification with other locals in the region and for the new government to attend to the voices opposing the coal-fired project. Additionally, to educate locals about the halt of the EIA/SIA [Environmental and Social Impact Assessment] projects concerned with the coal-fired projects in the Anndin area, according to Ashin Nanda, assistant Sayardaw of Anndin Village Monastery, commenting after setting up a billboard at Nga-myar Sakhan Village.
“The Vice-Minister of Electricity already said at the Hluttaw that there won’t be any EIA/SIA projects. So, the locals have the right to ask whoever comes here to observe. They should not be afraid about whether the observers are foreign,” said Ashin Nanda.
The EIA/SIA projects and other observation projects will be halted to the locals discontent with the coal-fired project in Anndin area, according to a reply from the U Aung Thant Oo, the Vice-Minister of Electricity, as questioned by Mi Myint Thant, Pyithu Hluttaw representative for Ye Township Constituency, at a Pyithu Hluttaw session, on December 30, 2015.
The billboards were erected in 10 villages throughout the Parlain Region including Anndin, Nga-myar Sakhan, Ye-baw Taung, and Dura villages. The billboards read “Parlian Area, Ye Township’s plentiful natural resources. Let’s protect our nature and beauty [in Burmese and Mon]. No Coal (No. T.T.C.L) [in English]”, accompanied with a map of the Parlain Region.
After setting up the billboards, locals shouted the slogans, “We [locals] must realise the beauty of our region. We must take responsibility for the prosperity of our region. We must implement peace in our region. Let’s work hard for the development of our region.”
“We, the residents here, love our region. The upcoming government was elected by the people. Because it was elected by the people, it should listen to the people’s voice. We have already decided to continue the opposition against this project if the government does not listen to us,” said Mi Thiri Oo (aka Mi Seik Sorn), of Anndin Youth Group.
According to a 2014 report from the Parlain Region Research Group using data gathered from 7 villages, including Anndin Village Tract, the income from local products such as betel nut orchards and farming, made up over 5815 million Kyat. Concurrently, with the additional income from the natural fruits, such as durian and rambutant, the overall income will be more than 7240 million Kyat.
The Toyo-Thai Company proposes to construct the coal-fired power plant, worth USD 2700 million, to produce 1280 mega watts of electricity. The company signed a MoA with the union government and Ministry of Electricity on April 9, 2015.
Consequently, on May 5, 2015, approximately 6000 locals staged a protest in Anndin Village against the coal-fired project.
The representatives, who won the elections in Ye Township constituency in 2015, promised that they would report the possible termination of the project to the Hluttaw.