“When we break some stones on the river bank, we find spotted yellow dust inside. And we also find some gold powder in the sand, but the Chinese have taken away all of these,” said a local elder of Kophichi village.
From 2009, Shwetaung Hydropower Co.Ltd, Juction Model and High Tech Company (Myanmar), China Datang Overseas Investment Co. Ltd, and Hydro China Xibei Engineering Company began building a dam, supervised by 10 Chinese engineers and a Burmese engineer.
Lemro River is full of natural resources as it has a lot of sand and rock. Geologists who carried out surveys have talked about finding oil from the riverbed.
“Chin state Chief Minister visited the dam site on 27 January, but the construction work has stopped since the last rainy season. Local people and policemen guard the dam,” said an elder in Kophichi village.
Once the Lemro River dam is constructed in accordance with the previous project, it will affect 60 villages and a population 20,000 in the area.
“We don’t understand the advantages or disadvantages of constructing a dam, we are just, afraid of our plantations, crops and gardens being destroyed by the water, “said a local.
Some local youths are protesting the construction of the dam through an outfit called the “Save Lemro” to stop the work.
“I cannot accept Kyat 200 lakh as compensation for my crop land because it will be one time money. My land will generate income every year,” said a landowner in Than Thaung village.
In these areas, some plantations like rubber, teak, oil palm, peanut, chilli and yam is produced, which help the Chin state economy.