Last update:
2020-03-26

Deep sea port and airport on Kalagote Island, Myanmar

Residents of Kalagote island are concerned they might lose their farming and fishing livelihoods to megaprojects, including a deep seaport, airport and a bridge. They have not been informed about the plans and have formed a group to monitor the projects.


Description:

During the Mon State Investment Fair 2019 Chief Minister of Mon State, Dr. Aye Zan, informed the media that a deep sea port would be built in Kalagote island, an isolated island located in the Bay of Bengal, with a land area of 1,427 hectares and measuring about 14.5 kilometers long and 1 kilometer wide. He said that the water depth around Kalagote island, between 18 and 23 meters, is deeper than waters around Yangon, where Myanmar’s established main port is located, and that the country would benefit from a deep seaport. He said “Whether it is for rice or other things, Kalagote island is the main place for any trade”. At the event, held on 29th-30th November, in 2019, Dr. Aye Zan explained that the deep sea port plan is part of Mon State Vision Master Plan 2035, developed by Surbana Jurong, a Singaporean infrastructure and management services consultancy firm. Information presented at the Mon State Investment Fair 2019 purported to show that this strategic plan, designed to address the needs of Mon State, was drafted with inputs from local organizations and Mon State authorities. But a young person said that residents of Kalagote island were not well-informed of the plans, saying: “We saw some people did a land survey last year. But we don’t know who they were. Some people said it is for a deep-seaport. There will be huge hardship for the fishing community if a deep-seaport is built. Some villagers (who don’t understand the impact) think there are benefits when the company comes.” [1]

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Basic Data
Name of conflict:Deep sea port and airport on Kalagote Island, Myanmar
Country:Myanmar
State or province:Mon State
Location of conflict:Lamaing sub-township, Ye township
Accuracy of locationHIGH (Local level)
Source of Conflict
Type of conflict. 1st level:Infrastructure and Built Environment
Type of conflict. 2nd level:Land acquisition conflicts
Transport infrastructure networks (roads, railways, hydroways, canals and pipelines)
Ports and airport projects
Aquaculture and fisheries
Specific commodities:Land
Water
sea
Project Details and Actors
Project details

The Mon State government gave a preliminary green light to a number of megaprojects, including a deep-seaport, an electric power station and an industrial zone in March 2014, noting that before construction could get underway the projects would require approval of the Union government. On 9th March 2014 officials from Mon State and Bedock Construction and Engineering Co. Ltd. signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) granting the latter the rights to develop the initiatives. According to U Min Htin Aung Han, Mon State Minister for Electricity, Energy and Industry and interim director of the Municipal Development Corporation, the projects are anticipated to boost job opportunities. He added that the state team would forward the project proposal and MoU to the Union government and approval from the Myanmar Investment Commission was also required.[5]

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Type of populationRural
Affected Population:5,000
Start of the conflict:01/08/2019
Company names or state enterprises:Bedock Construction and Engineering Co. Ltd. from Myanmar - MoU signed between Mon State government and Bedock Construction and Engineering Co. Ltd. to construct a deep water port on Kalagote island in March 2017[2]
Surbana Jurong from Singapore - Development of Mon State Vision Master Plan (2035)[6]
Relevant government actors:Mon State government
Ministry of Agriculture, Livestock and Transportation
Municipal Development Department
Myanmar Investment Commission (MIC)
Ministry of Defense
Ministry of Home Affairs
Mawyawaddy Navy Command
Ye Township Law and Order Restoration Council
Township People Police
Land Marking Department
Environmental justice organizations (and other supporters) and their websites, if available:Human Rights Foundation of Monland (HURFOM) - http://rehmonnya.org/
Conflict & Mobilization
IntensityLOW (some local organising)
Reaction stagePREVENTIVE resistance (precautionary phase)
Groups mobilizing:Farmers
Indigenous groups or traditional communities
Local ejos
Neighbours/citizens/communities
Fisher people
Forms of mobilization:Development of a network/collective action
Impacts
Environmental ImpactsPotential: Air pollution, Biodiversity loss (wildlife, agro-diversity), Food insecurity (crop damage), Global warming, Loss of landscape/aesthetic degradation, Noise pollution, Oil spills, Deforestation and loss of vegetation cover, Surface water pollution / Decreasing water (physico-chemical, biological) quality, Large-scale disturbance of hydro and geological systems, Reduced ecological / hydrological connectivity, Fires, Genetic contamination, Soil erosion, Groundwater pollution or depletion
Health ImpactsPotential: Other Health impacts, Mental problems including stress, depression and suicide
Other Health impactsIllnesses caused by pollutants emitted by aircraft and ships
Socio-economical ImpactsPotential: Displacement, Loss of livelihood, Loss of traditional knowledge/practices/cultures, Militarization and increased police presence, Land dispossession, Loss of landscape/sense of place, Violations of human rights
Outcome
Project StatusUnder construction
Conflict outcome / response:Strengthening of participation
Do you consider this an environmental justice success? Was environmental justice served?:No
Briefly explain:Kalagote island was seized by the Navy in 2001 and land ownership has not been returned to the people who continue to live there. Villagers concerned over loss of their farming and fishing livelihoods have not been informed about plans for megaprojects including a deep seaport, airfield, bridge and a road has already been constructed.
Sources & Materials
Links to general newspaper articles, blogs or other websites

[3] Villagers concerned livelihoods will be lost due to mega-projects, Rehmonnya.org, 27 February 2020
[click to view]

[4] No plans to return seized land on Kalegauk Island, says MoD Deputy Minister, Burma News International (BNI), 27 June 2014
[click to view]

[5] Mon State extends initial approval to seaport, industrial zone projects, Mon News Agency, 14 March 2017
[click to view]

[6] Mon State throws open doors for investors in six sectors, Myanmar Times, 2 December 2019
[click to view]

[1] Mon State government plans to build deep seaport at Kalagoke island, Burma News International (BNI), 3 December 2019
[click to view]

[2] Villagers in Kalargote Island deeply concerned of coming large-scale projects, Burma News International (BNI), 26 February 2020
[click to view]

Meta information
Contributor:Rose Bridger, Stay Grounded, email: [email protected]
Last update26/03/2020
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