Thursday, September 4, 2014

Locals sign petition to protest construction of coal-fired power plant

August 26, Independent Mon News Agency

The Ye Social Society (YSS) has organized a movement to collect signatures from individuals opposed to the construction of a coal-fired power plant in southern Mon State’s Ye Township.

YSS members began collecting signatures on August 23rd after meeting with Buddhist monks in the Parlain Village area, where the coal power-plant is set to be built. YSS members also consulted with the Parlain Regions United Group and local residents prior to launching their petition.

“If the people do not agree with the project, it will not be built. That is what the Mon State [chief] minister has said verbally. However, he has not made an official announced yet, so our movement must be organized because we still don’t believe the government,” said YSS secretary Ko Aung Naing Win.

Ko Aung Naing Win continued that September will be the last month in which signatures will be collected. The YSS will focus its petition campaign in Parlain Village, but will also collect signatures in Ye Town and other villages in Ye Township.

At a meeting on August 23rd, the Parlain Regions United Group decided that village administrators should supervise the purchase of local land by investors in order to protect local residents.

“Besides gathering signatures from locals who oppose building the power plant, we will also make video records of local products, such as fruits,” said Ashin Nanda from the Parlain Regions United Group.

Ko Aung Naing Win stated that after the YSS gathers signatures, the group will submit its petition to President Thein Sein’s office, the Union Electric Power Ministry, the Mon State government, the Toyo Thai Company, and Nai Lawi Aung, the Ye Township Chief Administrator.

The Parlain Regions United Group was founded by local monks in late 2013 and encompasses eight villages. The group meets monthly and focuses on developing the community and fostering unity among people in the region.

The Mon State government has already approved of plans to construct the plant on 500 acres of land near Parlain Village after receiving assurances from Toyo Thai Group that it will invest 2,700 million dollars in the project. The coal-fired power plant is expected to become operational in 2018 and produce 1,280 megawatts of electricity.