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11 village tracts in Hsipaw township, northern Shan State, to be impacted by Upper Yeywa Dam reservoir

February 23rd, 2023  •  Author:   Namtu River Protectors  •  3 minute read
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Press release by Namtu River Protectors

11 village tracts in Hsipaw township, northern Shan State, to be impacted by Upper Yeywa Dam reservoir

Eleven village tracts in Hsipaw township will be impacted by the reservoir of the Upper Yeywa dam project, being constructed on the Namtu river at Taungche village, Loi Zaung village tract, Kyaukme township, northern Shan State

Namtu River

According to a letter from the SAC township administrative authorities in Hsipaw dated December 9, 2022, the Upper Yeywa dam will be completed in 2023, so a committee has been set up to collect data about areas to be flooded in eleven village tracts along the Namtu river. The committee comprises SAC-appointed village tract chairmen, village clerks, land surveyors and construction personnel.

The eleven village tracts are: Baw Gyo, Man Hai, Nam Hsim (Kyin Thi), Nam Oon, Na Mark Khaw, Nam Lan, Lao Khun, Koong Hsaw, Marn Mawn/Marn Kyaung, Ho Khai and Kawng Kharm (Li).

However, since the formation of the committee in December, local communities have received no further information about which areas in these tracts will be flooded.

Bawgyo Pagoda beside Namtu river

The 280 megawatt Upper Yeywa dam project was started in 2008 under the SPDC military regime and is being constructed jointly by International Power Group (a subsidiary of the military-linked International Group of Entrepreneurs) and France’s Razel-Bec company. Japanese, Swiss, German, French and Chinese companies have also been involved in the project.

Since the environmental and social impact assessment was carried out in 2014, local communities have strongly opposed the project but been ignored by successive governments. Initially, the dam builders and authorities only mentioned that Na Mark Khaw village tract would be affected by the dam reservoir, so locals are now alarmed to learn that eleven village tracts will be impacted.

One of the impacted village tracts is Baw Gyo, where locals fear that numerous houses along the river bank and historical sites such as the Baw Gyo pagoda will be submerged.

Bawgyo village situated by the Namtu river bank and the historical Bawgyo pagoda

Since the coup, construction of the 210-megawatt Namtu dam has also begun, 13 miles upstream of Hsipaw town in Da Dae village tract. The project holder is Chinese-backed Natural Current Energy Hydropower Co. Ltd. The dam will flood the village of Lilu, mainly populated by Shan.

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