CONDITIONS AROUND THE PLANNED DAM SITES 49 The military operations of the Burmese military regime have made it difficult for the KNU to enforce their laws to regulate the environment. However, in 2002, some local communities in eastern Papun wishing to control their lands revived the traditional system of land demarcation, and a system of “community forest” has been assigned in some areas. For example, in Maw Lay Kho and La Bor villages of Luthaw Township, lower Papun District, villagers have developed their own by-laws to protect their land and manage their forests. Under these by-laws, developed by a process of village meetings, villagers are forbidden from cutting down and exporting cane for trading purposes, which had been happening on a wide scale in the area. Current population and living conditions The total area has been drastically depopulated by Burmese military offensives since 1995. Most of the population who had formerly lived on the bank of the Salween River are now living in two refugee camps in Thailand: Mae Rama Luang and Mae La U (formerly sited at Mae Kong Kha). Some chose to hide in the deep forest in hilly areas, joining other communities in hiding, to avoid Burmese troops and strive to survive as IDPs. Some villagers, mostly living close to the town of Papun and close to roads, who were not able to avoid the Burmese troops, have had to remain in their existing locations under close guard by SPDC troops. Out of an original total of 85 villages in the eastern Papun area before 1995, there now remain only 60 communities, of which 40 communities, comprising 973 households, or 5,574 people, are living as IDPs. The remaining 20 communities are villages under the control of Burmese troops, including 3 relocation sites: Kor Pu (close to Papun town), Thee Mu Hta (on the Salween riverbank) and Paw Hta (southeast of Papun town). The population of these 20 villages is 523 households or 2,822 people. Thus, about two thirds of the population of eastern Papun are living as IDPs. Even though there has only been limited KNU troop movement in the area since 1995, Burmese troops regularly conduct patrols to sweep out IDPs.
50 DAMMING AT GUNPOINT Table 4: Village and Population in the Pa Hai, Bwa Der and Kor Pu village tracts 22 No. Village (community) No. Household Population Status (a) Pa Hai Village Tract 1 Pa Hai NA NA IDP 2 Hter Nya Der 77 506 IDP 3 Htoe Wi Der 75 506 Some/face Burmese troops 4 To Thay Der 65 415 IDP 5 Klaw Khee Der 35 189 Face Burmese troops 6 Way Nor Der 54 363 IDP 7 Hper Ler Der 19 113 IDP 8 Yu Wah Der 19 95 IDP 9 Lay Ther Kho 43 309 IDP 10 Tha Thwee Der 48 276 IDP 11 Ka Na Der 9 42 IDP 12 Baw Khaw Der 42 206 IDP 13 Htee Hkler Hta 8 45 IDP 14 E’ Tu Khee 17 79 IDP 15 Hko Kay 26 146 IDP 16 Paw Ka Der 8 NA IDP 17 Mae Nu Hta 26 NA IDP* 18 Thi Mu Hta 7 NA (R) (b) Bwa Der Village Tracts 19 Kyi Thoo Pu 25 141 IDP 20 Bwa Der 28 156 IDP 21 To Nyo 33 163 Face Burmese troops 22 Hpaw Di Der 37 201 IDP 23 Bla Lay Hkor 16 74 Face Burmese troops 24 Lay Khor Htit 18 99 Face Burmese troops 25 Kaw Kho 14 101 IDP 26 Thay Gay Mu Der 20 119 IDP 27 Law Plat Thay 18 101 IDP 28 Hpa That Day 10 62 IDP 29 Htwee Mi Kwee 10 59 IDP 22 2003 figure of KNU’s Butho Township Administration of Papun District