The Bengoh dam project began discussion as early as 2003, actual construction started in 2008, and finish construction last year in 2010.Impoundment of the dam was scheduled for midlle of last year-but various reasons eg the state elections, caused it to be delayed till now. In the process there had been numerous occasions where the proponent tried to justify it to the 1000 over affected residents through a number of forums and discussions. From our research on the dam’s construction we found that the `elected representatives’ almost always speak for the government as the proponent of the dam project. Then who will speak for the people?
Even without an organised voice the residents actually questioned the justifications given to the residents eg The MP for the area Dr James Dawos Mamit (see the video below) said repeatedly that the residents will benefit from the work opportunities and development of infrastructure for the place. But what good if the people have to move away from the place? The MP also said that the residents must move, among others, to avoid polluting the water meant as a reservoir for drinking water for Kuching. But the residents found a map proposing tourism projects around the dam once the residents left-with their homes converted into home stay tourism props! Why the pollution argument does not apply to tourists but only to the residents? Why the residents cannot stay to benefit from the tourism development-after they had made the ultimate sacrifice of making way for the dam? Actually a significant proportion of the residents had constructed an entirely new village at higher altitude to avoid the dam while at the same time keep their ancestral lands under their feet!
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