CHIANG MAI) - Local civilians in Western Burma (Myanmar) face severe negative consequences from the planned construction of the Kaladan Multi-Modal Transport Project; these include heavy damage to the environment and therefore livelihoods, as well as widespread human rights abuses. A preliminary report from the Arakan Rivers Network (ARN) presents some of these local voices and highlights their concerns; it provides a comprehensive update on the status of the project and an expert analysis of its expected impacts. The report will be released on November 10, 2009.
The Kaladan Project aims to connect the landlocked area of Northeast India with the sea via the Kaladan River in Western Burma’s Arakan and Chin states, opening up trade routes to Southeast Asia. However, this progressive leap for India’s “Look East Policy” will also have a broad range of devastating effects on the people of Arakan and Chin States, most of whom already live in extreme poverty and have not had any input in the planning and construction of this project. The communities inhabiting areas that will be affected by the Kaladan Project will see no benefit to their local economies or their level of development; in fact, the project will make it harder for locals to pursue their livelihoods, secure their basic necessities, and provide for their families.