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Tamanthi dam on Chindwin River, Sagaing Division, Myanmar

The Tamanthi dam, proposed by India’s and Burma’s government, would have threatened ethnic minorities and a unique river ecosystem sustaining local cultures and livelihoods. Civil society groups welcomed the cancellation of the project in 2013.


Myanmar’s Chindwin river is the largest tributary to the Irrawaddy. It originates in the Hugawng Valley of Kachin State and flows through mountain ranges and forests, passing through Sagaing Division, until it reaches the large Irrawaddy. Hundreds of thousands of people from different ethnic groups (Kuki, Kachin, Shan, Naga and Chin and Burmese) depend for their livelihoods and culture on the unique and biodiverse river ecosystem. The Tamanthi dam (Sagaing Division), proposed by India’s and Myanmar’s governments in 2004, would have changed the Chindwin River irreversibly. The dam projected provoked strong civil society opposition over the large social and environmental impacts and human rights abuses documented during the early stages of development. The dam was eventually cancelled in 2013 [1,2,3]. 

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Basic Data
Name of conflict:Tamanthi dam on Chindwin River, Sagaing Division, Myanmar
State or province:Sagaing Divison
Location of conflict:Leivomjang and Tazong villages, Tamanthi town, Khamti town
Accuracy of locationHIGH (Local level)
Source of Conflict
Type of conflict. 1st level:Water Management
Type of conflict. 2nd level:Deforestation
Land acquisition conflicts
Dams and water distribution conflicts
Logging and non timber extraction
Specific commodities:Land
Project Details and Actors
Project details

The proposed site of the dam is located near to Tamanthi.

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Project area:139,600
Level of Investment:3,000,000,000
Type of populationRural
Affected Population:45,000
Start of the conflict:2004
End of the conflict:06/2013
Company names or state enterprises:Colenco from Switzerland
National Hydroelectric Power Corporation of India (NHPC) from India
Tin Win Tun logging company from Myanmar - logging of reservoir site
Jewelry Luck Company from Myanmar - logging of relocation site
Relevant government actors:Indian government
India’s Department of Hydropower Implementation (DHPI)
Burma’s past military regime
Ministry of Electric Power
Central Electricity Authority (CEA)
Department of Hydropower Implementation
and others
Environmental justice organizations (and other supporters) and their websites, if available:Kuki Women’s Human Rights Organization (KWHRO),
Kuki Students' Democratic Front
Burma Rivers Network,
and others
Conflict & Mobilization
IntensityHIGH (widespread, mass mobilization, violence, arrests, etc...)
Reaction stageIn REACTION to the implementation (during construction or operation)
Groups mobilizing:Farmers
Indigenous groups or traditional communities
Local ejos
Social movements
Ethnically/racially discriminated groups
Religious groups
Kuki ethnic groups
Fisher people
Forms of mobilization:Boycotts of official procedures/non-participation in official processes
Community-based participative research (popular epidemiology studies, etc..)
Creation of alternative reports/knowledge
Official complaint letters and petitions
Public campaigns
Street protest/marches
religious prayer ceremonies
Environmental ImpactsVisible: Food insecurity (crop damage), Loss of landscape/aesthetic degradation, Deforestation and loss of vegetation cover, Biodiversity loss (wildlife, agro-diversity)
Potential: Floods (river, coastal, mudflow), Surface water pollution / Decreasing water (physico-chemical, biological) quality, Large-scale disturbance of hydro and geological systems, Reduced ecological / hydrological connectivity, Other Environmental impacts
Other Environmental impactsEarthquake risks
Health ImpactsVisible: Mental problems including stress, depression and suicide, Violence related health impacts (homicides, rape, etc..)
Socio-economical ImpactsVisible: Displacement, Increase in violence and crime, Loss of livelihood, Loss of traditional knowledge/practices/cultures, Militarization and increased police presence, Violations of human rights, Land dispossession, Loss of landscape/sense of place
Potential: Specific impacts on women
Project StatusStopped
Conflict outcome / response:Compensation
Violent targeting of activists
Project cancelled
Compensations was minimal (5 USD)
Do you consider this an environmental justice success? Was environmental justice served?:Yes
Briefly explain:The project has been cancelled. However, the vast damages caused for the forcefully relocated people have not been repaired adequately.
Sources & Materials
Related laws and legislations - Juridical texts related to the conflict

2012 Foreign Investment Law
[click to view]

2012 Environmental Conservation Law
[click to view]

2012 Vacant, Fallow and Virgin Lands Management Law
[click to view]

2008 Constitution of the Republic of the Union of Myanmar
[click to view]

References to published books, academic articles, movies or published documentaries

[1] Kuki Women’s Human Rights Organization (KWHRO) 2011 "Stop damming the Chindwin". Published in December 2011. (accessed online, 15.06.2018).
[click to view]

Links to general newspaper articles, blogs or other websites

[2] Burma Rivers Network on the Tamanthi Dam. (accessed online, 15.06.2018).
[click to view]

[4] Aljazeera online article, 31 March 2013. "Thousands displaced by Myanmar dam". (accessed online, 15.06.2018).
[click to view]

[5] Statement by the Burma Rivers Network, 05 September, 2013 "Burma Rivers Network welcomes India’s cancellation of Tamanthi Dam, urges China and Thailand to take similar environmental responsibility." (accessed online, 15.06.2018).
[click to view]

[6], 06 Jun, 2013. "Myanmar scraps two hydroelectric projects planned with India" (accessed online, 15.06.2018).
[click to view]

[7] The Irrawaddy, 7 December 2016, "Burma Rivers Network Calls for a Halt to Dam Projects in Conflict Areas" (accessed online, 15.06.2018).
[click to view]

[3] Humanitarian Aid Relief Trust (HART) 2015 "Large-Scale Developments in Burma: Uncovering Trends in Human Rights Abuse". (accessed online, 15.06.2018).
[click to view]

Meta information
Contributor:EJatlas Southeast Asia Team ("at"
Last update18/06/2018
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