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Hundred Elephants To Pull Logs For The Irrawaddy Dam Contractor

November 24, 2009

Written by KNG
Friday, 20 November 2009

A hundred elephants have been requisitioned to pull logs from the forests near the hydropower project site on the Irrawaddy River to the log camps, by Burma-Asia World Company in northern Kachin State, said company’s sources.

Owners of the pachyderms in Myitkyina, the capital of Kachin State said, they were summoned by the company. The deal involves pulling timber from the forests, about three miles north of Tang Hpre village in the Irrawaddy dam project site, 27 miles north of Myitkyina, said villagers.

Tang Hpre is where Burma’s longest Irrawaddy River joins Mali Hka River and N’Mai Hka River. The confluence is called Mali-N’Mai Zup or Myitsone in Burmese.
Local elephant owners said they were called by the company and were told that the payment for drawing logs from the forest to the log camp would be 8,000 Kyat per ton. Groups of 10 elephants need to be mobilized and each group has to have ten animals, they added. The company will pay one at a time, whenever it has drawn 1,000 tons of timber, a local elephant owner said.

An eyewitness in Tang Hpre told KNG today, three elephants left for the forests carrying rations, cooking pots and tarpaulins last Sunday.

Villagers of Tang Hpre said the forests were surveyed by the company’s personnel before felling of trees since early this month.

Asia World Company had links with former Burma’s drug lord Lo Hsing Han. The company began operations on the Irrawaddy River’s confluence on the hydropower project in late 2006. The project is being jointly implemented by Asia World Company and the Chinese government-owned China Power Investment Corporation (CPI).

The two companies plan to build a total of seven hydropower plants in Mali Hka River, N’Mai Hka River and the Irrawaddy River’s confluence in Kachin State.

According to local people near the dam project sites, Burma’s ruling junta has given areas 30 miles outwards from the Irrawaddy dam project site to the Asia World Company for mining, logging and other business activities since 2006.

Villagers of Tang Hpre said, the company is also exploring and mining minerals from the areas around the project site but they do not identify the type of minerals.

The confluence of Irrawaddy River where the huge dam is proposed to be constructed by Burma’s ruling junta.

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