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Memorandum submitted on Kaladan Multi Modal Transport Project


25th May 2012: On the eve of Prime Minister Manmohna Singhs visit to Myanmar, Zo Indigenous Forum, an indigenous organisation in Mizoram and Burma Center Delhi submitted memorandum to the prime minister of India on the current construction on Indo-Burma link road Kaladan Multi Modal Transport Project in Mizoram and Burma.

MEMORANDUM
May 25, 2012
To
Dr. Manmohan Singh
Hon’ble Prime Minister of India

Sub: Appeal to protect the rights of the people and prevent environmental degradation

Respected Prime Minister,

We highly appreciate your proposed visit to Burma/Myanmar as we believe that this landmark visit will pave the way for strengthening bilateral ties between the two neighboring countries. We feel that now is the most appropriate time for India to show its sincere commitment for democracy in Burma while the country is going through political reforms.

As citizens of India it is also our utmost desire to see a strengthened India-Burma relation where people of both the countries would truly benefit through its joint ventures in developmental projects.

Therefore, while appreciating and supporting India’s initiatives to enhance its cooperation with Burma in different sectors, we would also like to bring to your notice our concern about the negative consequences that such collaborations and engagement could bring about to the local livelihood as well as the environment.
While we anticipate that major infrastructure projects such as the Kaladan Multi-Modal Transit Transport Project would improve the lives of the local people, we are particularly concerned about reports of villages to be relocated to make way for the Kaladan project, a joint venture of India and Burma that will connect Kolkata to landlocked Northeast India through Burma’s Arakan and Paletwa in Chin State.

We would like to bring to the kind notice of our Hon’ble Prime Minister to consider the following concerns.
  • Drawing examples from the past where construction and infrastructure projects in Burma have been associated with forced labor, land confiscation, and other serious human rights and labor violations, governments of both the countries must ensure that international and domestic standards are followed in the Kaladan Project and must benefit the people.
  • Social and environmental impact assessments must be conducted and local community on both sides (India and Burma) must be informed on the possible impacts (negative and positive) of the project.
  • Transparency and accountability must be maintained on all processes concerning the project by involving civil society organizations.
  • Free, Prior and Informed Consent (FPIC) should be used for implementation of Kaladan Project. It is reported that till date, forest clearance for the Project has not been received but the work is already underway.
  • The Zo indigenous populations in the project area are reported to be very poor and as per the government data, 30% are below poverty line. Therefore, special economic package must be created as well as 50% job reservation must be given for their economic and social upliftment.
We urge our Hon’ble Prime Minister to look beyond government-to-government relations and take these matters into utmost importance while engaging with its neighbouring country.

Thank you for accepting this petition.

Sincerely,

Mr. Kim Mr. C. Laremruata
Burma Centre Delhi Zo Indigenous Forum

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