Set amid fruit orchards and betel-nut plantations, the village of Kaloneta seems peaceful enough. But the tranquillity is mere surface appearance as residents fight waves of mega-projects continually crashing over the the Tanintharyi region. Aung Kyaw Thet, a 21-year-old campaigner, said the massive projects ruin their land and traditional livelihoods. Kaloneta, with a population of just 1,200, is facing twin threats from a nearby dam that’s part of the Dawei Deep Seaport and Industrial Estate Development Project and a Dawei-Kanchanburi road link. People are worried their land will be expropriated. United under the leadership of their village abbot, Punya Wunta, they have managed to halt both projects. But everyone knows the battle against unwanted development is far from over, as investors and Myanmar authorities continue to push mega-projects that would turn the peaceful countryside into one of the biggest industrial zones and major deepwater seaports in Southeast Asia. “Everyone in Kaloneta lives with fear and uncertainty,” Aung Kyaw Thet said. “If we fail to deter these harmful projects, we’ll be driven off our ancestral lands and lose our farming livelihoods for good. “The community’s youth network has initiated community-based tourism development. Our aim is to teach the wider public about… Read full this story
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