Pyar Taung region locals concerned about new coal powered cement factory under construction

November 22, 2017

HURFOM: Locals in the Pyar Taung region of Mon State have expressed concern over June Cement Industry Ltd.’s new factory which has begun construction near Malga Ro, Kaw Don, and Kaw Panaw villages.

“Now the company has collected a large pile of sand. We also see they have dug a drain. Locals do not really know what the company is doing. We should know what they are doing. According to their three-year-old map, they are going to build a coal powered cement factory. We are worried about it,” said Nai Shwe Win, an anti-coal activist from Malga Ro village.

Locals from Pyar Taung are worried about the negative environmental consequences from the construction and operation of the cement factory. In addition, the close proximity of the plant to Malga Ro village’s pagoda has raised further concerns about damage to religious sites.

“Local people are claiming that coal power projects disturb natural resources, the environment, and local communities. The residents are discussing that if the factory is to be powered by coal, they will protest against the project. We have already faced difficulties with MCL [Mawlamyine Cement Limited] company, but if the June and Zaykabar companies continue their projects we can’t imagine how many difficulties we must face,” said Nai Mrok Mon from Ni Ton village.

MCL’s coal fired power plant in the Pyar Taung region which has recently begun operations has generated large amounts of controversy and opposition among local residents who claim it has damaged the environment, including water resources, aquatic life, and local farmland.

On June 4th 2016, locals sent a complaint letter to the Mon State Parliament regarding June Cement Industry’s activities, noting the lack of consultation and notification of local communities about the project and asking the authorities to open an investigation.

According to Nai Tun Kyi, on April 20th 2017 they received a reply from Mon State House Speaker Daw Tin Ei. In her letter she informed locals that a meeting will be organized between the June Cement Industry authorities and local communities.

In 2011, June Cement Industry bought 700 acres of land from farmers in Malga Ro and Kaw Panaw villages in Kyaikmayaw Township. Several years later, in March 2015, the Myanmar Investment Commission gave permission for the project to go ahead.

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