Myanmar and India Cancel 2080 MW Hydro Projects to Appease Environmentalists
The Myanmar and Indian governments have terminated two hydroelectric projects with capacity of 2,080 MW in Myanmar’s Chindwin River due to the environmental and social impact. Both the Htamanthi hydropower project with an installed capacity of 1,200 MW and the Shwezaye hydropower project with 880 MW would have been built on the Chindwin River, one of the country’s major rivers and the tributary of the Ayeyawady River.
On June 7, the Myanmar Environmental Conservation and Forestry Minister Win Tun stated that they did not want the project which people rejected due to negative impact to environment. Both Myanmar and India agreed to suspend the project after a consideration of their economic viability as well as potential social and environment impacts. The two projects were to be financed by India and some 80 percent of electricity from the Htamanthi project was to be sold to India.
“It is good to hear those projects were halted. Dams with 50 feet in height can pose no danger. But those with over 50 feet in height are dangerous. Small dam projects will benefit to people as they have no environmental impact,” said forestry expert U. Ohn. The 263-foot-high Htamanthi dam was projected to have 16,780 square miles of inundated area, and aimed to irrigate 1 million acres of land. Some villagers would have been displaced by the projects and local residents also raised their concern over further displacements.