Mon State Villagers Oppose Offshore Supply Base That Stands to Displace Them

Saturday, November 16, 2019

Residents of a village in Mon State’s Ye Township say that they are likely to be relocated because of the construction of an offshore supply base meant to support ships working in Burma’s oil and gas industry.

Locals have long been against the project, proposed to be built by Forever Thanlwin Co. Ltd on 68 acres near Ywar Thit Damin Seik village in Ann-din village tract. The company reportedly plans to invest some US$68 million in the initiative.

The 1,400 residents of Ywar Thit Damin Seik say the supply base will have a negative impact on their livelihoods—largely farming and fishing—and the environment. If it is built, villagers will likely be barred from fishing in the area and from using row boats, both of which are necessary to their work and survival.

“We have opposed this project. We opposed it when the company bought land plots in 2017 and applied for other uses of the land,” Mi Thiri Oo, a member of the Ann-din youth group, told NMG. “The company’s staff came to our area, but local people rejected a meeting with them… Now they are preparing to hold a public meeting again, so we are trying to oppose it.”

A November 14 meeting was announced in a state-run newspaper in which the project’s third party partner, See Trust Co. Ltd., and Forever Thanlwin Co. said they would talk to locals about the Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA) for the project.

Residents of Ann-din village tract responded by releasing a statement and calling for opposition to the meeting. They protested on nearby roads, and held posters declaring their rejection of the construction of the supply base in their community.

NMG called Forever Thanlwin Co. for comment on the situation but received no response.

The offshore supply base is not the only development project in Ye Township which has locals feeling like they are under threat. In speaking to NMG, villagers also highlighted concerns around a coal-fired power plant in the area, saying these projects “make more worries for local people.”