25 May 2012
On the eve of Prime Minister Manmohna Singh 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.
In the memorandum they highlighted they appreciate the 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. And they say that it is the most appropriate time for India to show its sincere commitment for democracy in Burma while the country is going through political reforms.
They also highlighted their concern of those 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.
Zo Indigenous Forum, a local organisation has been actively campaigning for the above concern in the project since last year and according to them they will submit their concern and suggestion to state and autonomous district council to the respective State government and autonomous district council soon.
Source: Zo Indigenous Forum