Hornbill Unleashed

March 14, 2017

Villagers celebrate anniversary of Baram dam cancellation with festivity

Filed under: Politics — Hornbill Unleashed @ 8:01 AM

Image result for villagers of BaramA year after their land earmarked by the government for the dam project was returned to them, the villagers of Baram gathered to celebrate their victory and solidarity in defending their river and land.

The celebration brought together those from various villages in Baram and other parts of Sarawak to the Baram dam blockade site at KM15 in Long Kesseh.

The festivity was held at the campsite, which was built in 2013 to accommodate the protestors who manned the blockades for more than three years.

The unrelenting shouts of ‘Stop Baram Dam!’ which used to echo through the remote jungle were replaced with the soothing sounds of the ‘sape’ as well as traditional songs, dances and modern music.

Peter Kallang, the chairman of Save Sarawak Rivers Network (Save Rivers), said the celebration was also held in conjunction with International Rivers Day, which is globally observed on March 14.

“After more than five years of resistance from the villagers of Baram against the dam, the government under the

leadership of the late chief minister Datuk Patinggi Tan Sri Adenan Satem, gave back the land to the people.”

The cancellation of the gazette in acquiring the land for the dam was published on Feb 18 last year.

Adenan also announced during a televised interview then that there would be no Baram dam.

“The villagers are grateful for getting their land back. They are still thrilled by the decision made by the government, which was at that time led by the late chief minister (Datuk Patinggi) Tan Sri Adenan Satem.”

“We sincerely hope that our new Chief Minister Datuk Amar Abang Johari Tun Openg would continue the policies set by his predecessor in developing the rural areas and pursuing alternative energy sources.”

The Baram dam, if not cancelled, would have flooded 26 villages and forcefully displaced a population of 20,000 indigenous Kenyahs, Kayans and Penans living in the area.

The gazette for the proposed dam covered an area of 41,200 hectares, approximately one-and-a-half times the size of Penang island.

Meanwhile, Save Rivers Youth Programme chairperson Caroline Nyurang expressed her gratitude to Abang Johari.

“The youth of Save Rivers applauds the present chief minister for his commitment in sustainable development that focuses on the local communities.

“The youths depend heavily on healthy rivers and intact forests. Thus, the sustainable management of our natural resources is paramount,” she said.

Source : @ Borneo Post Online


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