A petition letter signed by 11 monks and 229 other people was sent to the Restoration Council of Shan State (RCSS) ethnic armed group on 12th November asking them to help close down all the coal mining projects in Mong Kung Township in central Shan State.
Over 500 acres of pasture, farmland and conifer forests in Wamt-Hwayt and Wamt-Yet village-tracts in the southern part of Mong Kung Township were confiscated by the government and given to the coal mining companies. The locals want the RCSS to help them get rid of the coal companies, which is why they sent the petition letter to the RCSS in Taung Gyi Township.
Sai Khae Lai, a leader of the movement to stop the coalmining companies said: “This area is the watershed for Nam Tane Stream. Since the coalmine project started here pasture and conifer forestland have already disappeared. Wild animals, cattle and people who rely on Nam Tane Stream will be affected by the chemical poison coming from the coalmines. That is why we monks and the people have organized ourselves into a protest group.”
RCSS forces are active in the area which is why the protesters petitioned them. The protest group has also bought the matter to the attention of U Sai Pan, a state parliament representative and they will also later bring it to the attention of the State and Union governments, he added.
Sai Haw Sine, a spokesperson from the Shan Social Organisation said: “Our country is not stable yet, so the government should not allow any project that will be harmful to the people. Also the ethnic armed groups must stop this kind of behaviour because it does not benefit local people.”
Details of how the coal mine will cause deterioration of water resources and how the inhabitants of at least two village-tracts could lose their livelihoods due to the loss and destruction of pasture, farmland, conifer forests and mountains were included in the petition letter sent to the RCSS by the Mong Kung residents.
The letter also points out that wild animals, cattle and aquatic organisms could be killed as waste materials from coal mining could permeate into the soil and waterways affecting the lives of people who rely on Nam Tane Stream living in Mong Kung, Laihka, Nam Sang, Kengtung, Mongpan and Lingkhe townships.
Translated by Aung Myat Soe English version written by Mark Inkey for BNI
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