Burma Myanmar is proposing a significant reduction in the overall area of the Dawei deep seaport project

Nongpnapas Maipainich
The Nation
Publication Date : 19-12-2012

Myanmar is proposing a significant reduction in the overall area of the Dawei project to 150 square kilometres, from 204.5 sq km.

Thailand has responded to the proposal by saying it is already in the process of a feasibility study on the Dawei Deep Sea Port and Dawei Industrial Estate Project based on the original proposed size of the project, Transport Minister Chatchart Sithipan said.

Myanmar made the new proposal after a discussion between President Thein Sein and Thai Prime Minister Yingluck Shinawatra, Chatchart said.

“This is the first meeting in which Myanmar’s president clearly said he would invite a third country, likely Japan, to join in the investment. It is a benefit, as Japan has long-term funding sources for investment in infrastructure, including the port and roads,” Chatchart said.

Of the total investment estimate of 270 billion baht (US$8 billion) in the project, Thailand’s portion is 75 billion baht, he said. That includes 45 billion baht for construction of a motorway between Bang Yai and Kanchanaburi and another 10 billion baht for a motorway between Kanchanaburi and Banphu Namron.

The cost of a railway from Myanmar to Thailand’s Eastern Seaboard Industrial Estate will be 20 billion baht.

Chatchart said the priority was to find business partners with strong financial status and existing customer bases for joint investment.

In the preliminary stage, the investment will be in two patterns. The first pattern is to set up a specific purpose vehicle, which is similar to a holding company with subsidiaries for business operations, including telecommunications, infrastructure and industrial estates. The second pattern is to set up companies to be separately responsible for business operations.

*US$1=30.5 baht

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Myanmar will begin the construction of a new economic zone located next to the Dawei project in 2013.

Director general Aung Naing Oo of the Directorate of Investment and Company Administration (DICA) on Monday said the Thilawa Special Economic Zone will be built on 2,400 hectares of land in Yangon region and will undergo three phases.

“For the first phase, about 450 hectares of land will be developed by Myanmar and Japanese companies. The development will be completed by 2015,” Aung Naing Oo said during the Myanmar-Thai Trade and Investment Forum.

Investors from Myanmar and Japan will team up for the first phase. Other foreign investors including South Korea and Thailand are in talks with DICA for a possible investment on the new project.

About 33,000 to 45,000 job opportunities will be needed for the first phase of the project. “At least 230,000 workers could be employed during the entire project,” DICA said.

Myanmar is planning to develop three special economic zones located in Thilawa, Kyaukphyu and Dawei. The first special economic zone in Myanmar, the Dawei deep seaport project includes an industrial zone and a rail link to Thailand.

Dawei project residents deny Ital-Thai claims that relocation is “almost done”

Press release by Tavoyan Voice

November 21, 2012

Dawei project residents deny Ital-Thai claims that relocation is “almost done”

Local villagers living in the planned Dawei deep sea port and industrial zone deny recent claims by the Thai project developer that most people have already been relocated from the area.

Over 30,000 villagers from 16 villages in the US$50 billion project area are slated for relocation, but community leaders insist that no one has yet been relocated.

In an interview with the Bangkok Post on November 12, 2012, Premchai Karnasuta, managing director of Italian-Thai Development Plc (ITD), said that “relocation of residents in the project area has been almost done.”

However, ITD representatives are still negotiating compensation rates, and have failed to convince the majority of villagers to move.

“Most people in my village have said they will never move out, even if houses are torn down around them,” said U Awbartha, abbot of the monastery in Mayin Gyi village.

 

Construction of new houses in a relocation camp in Bawah village, north of the project site, is still underway, and only about 300 houses have been completed. Villagers are reluctant to move there as the site is remote and there is no agricultural land available to carry out their traditional farming livelihoods.

Villagers were shocked that the Ital-Thai managing director had falsely presented the project situation on the ground, for the sake of boosting investor confidence.

“Rather than focusing on international investors, the Thai developers should worry about growing community resistance to the project,” said Lwin Lwin of Tavoyan Voice.

According to the Bangkok Post article, construction of the project is expected to begin in April 2013.

 

For further details contact:

Lwin Lwin (Phone) (+66 85 250 2982)

Tavoyan Voice is a network of community based groups working to protect and promote human rights in the Dawei area, which disseminates information through its website:   www.tavoyanvoice.com

WAR: The Burma Army is sending extra troops, arms and food supplies to the Tavoy (Dawei) area

The Burma Army is sending extra troops, arms and food supplies to the Tavoy (Dawei) area in southern Burma in what local Karen says are signs that the government troops are about to launch a major offensive against the Karen National Union.

A Karen National Union military source said that by the end of October, 20 Burma Army military trucks transported around 3,000 sacks of rice and military supplies to Myitta village east of Tavoy.

The Karen National Union in the area is on high alert in response to the Burma Army’s preparations.

Saw Kwe Htoo Win, chairman of the KNU’s Mergui-Tavoy District (Tenasserim Division) told Karen News.

“Normally every dry season the Burma Army transports food supplies to their frontline troops, but the build-up this year suggests that they will launch a major offensive.”

The actions of the Burma Army is seen by the KNU as a military move to secure the Tavoy-Kanchanaburi road construction, which passes through a KNU controlled area. Continue reading “WAR: The Burma Army is sending extra troops, arms and food supplies to the Tavoy (Dawei) area”

KNU tightens construction ban on Tavoy to Kanchanaburi Road

The Karen National Union (KNU) has banned all vehicles owned by the Italian-Thai Development (ITD) Company from using a road linking the Thai province of Kanchanaburi to Burma’s southern seaport of Tavoy in order to halt work on a controversial project in the area, according to Karen sources.

The road, which is still under construction, is being built by ITD as part of the multi-billion-dollar Dawei Development Project, which aims to turn Tavoy into a major transport and manufacturing hub, including petrochemical plants that are seen as a threat to the region’s pristine coastline.

Speaking to The Irrawaddy on Tuesday, Zipporah Sein, the general secretary of the KNU, said: “All development projects must abide by international laws. We do not want them to destroy the environment and cause the people to suffer because of it.”

A systematic environmental impact assessment must be carried out before the project is allowed to continue, she added.

“The people must have the right to decide. They need to know about the impact of the project,” she said.

Eh Na, the editor of Kwekalu, a Karen news agency, said that KNU informed the company of the ban on Sept 15.

“However, for humanitarian reasons, they will allow some vehicles to use the road to transport food to workers on the Burmese side,” added Eh Na, who has also done extensive research on the Dawei project.

The US $60 billion project, which was approved by the Burmese military government in March last year, includes a deep-sea port, a giant industrial zone, roads, railways, transmission lines, and oil and gas pipelines.

The KNU have been blocking vehicles carrying ITD employees since July, said Karen sources. The KNU said its actions are based on calls from local villagers who say that the mega-project will have a severe negative impact on people living in the area and the environment.

Meanwhile, there are reports that Thai military commanders in Kanchanaburi are unhappy about the new road, which they say will have strategic value for the Burmese army.

“If the Burmese launch a military operation in the future, this road will give them easy access to the border,” said a source close to the Thai army who requested anonymity.

“They [the Thai army] worry that as soon as the Burmese army reaches the border, the more they will have to suffer,” he added. irrawaddy news

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The Karen National Union has taken a tougher stance and banned all Italian-Thai Development Company vehicles from using the Tavoy-Kanchanaburi road that links southern Burma to Kanchanaburi in Thailand.

A KNU official (who requested that their name not be used) told Karen News that the KNU informed the Italian-Thai Development (ITD) Company representatives that they travel and use of the Tavoy-Kanchanaburi Road was banned from 15 September.

Sources close to the KNU explained to Karen News that the decision came after ITD representatives met with the KNU on 14 September. This is also the end of the time period allocated by the KNU for the company to carry out a road survey.

The KNU source did not want to expand on negotiations between the company and the Karen political organization.
In Early July Karen soldiers stopped all of the Italian-Thai Development Company road construction east of Tavoy, but still allowed ITD workers and vehicles to use and travel on the road. The latest KNU position bans any ITD vehicle from traveling on the road and stops all roadwork east of Tavoy to Thai border of Kanchanaburi. The KNU’s new tougher stance allows the company to bring food and supplies to their workers who are in Burma.

A few days ago the Karen soldiers avoided a major incident by not firing on a ITD car that refused to obey the ban and refused to stop.

Road construction sign on Tavoy-Kanchanaburi (Photo:KIC)

A KNU source said ITD company officials do not want to publicize or acknowledge the conflict surrounding the Tavoy Development Project it might jeopardize trust from their investors or shareholders. Continue reading “KNU tightens construction ban on Tavoy to Kanchanaburi Road”