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"On my part, I remain committed to the process of dialogue. It is my firm belief that dialogue and a willingness to look with honesty and clarity at the reality of Tibet can lead us to a viable solution."

Residents petition against mining in Meldro Gongkar

August 19, 2009

August 18, 2009

Dharamsala, August 18 - The local Tibetan residents from Gyama
township in Meldro Gongkar County have petitioned the local
government to put an immediate halt to a mining project in the area,
according to the exile Tibetan government's website.

However, the local government has not responded yet to the petition
and "deliberately overlooked the genuine concerns of the local
residents," the The whole region is under heavy military
surveillance, with imposition of severe restrictions on communication
to outside world and people visiting the region.

Earlier on June 20 this year, residents protested against a Chinese
mining company that was carrying out a water-diversion project in the
upper Gyama region. The ensuing scuffle between angry Tibetans and
miners left 3 Tibetans wounded. The large-scale facility was being
built to channelize water to the mining site. Huge pipes were laid
across agricultural lands, which have been forcefully taken away from
farmers without compensations. Toxic wastes dumped into Gyama
Shingchu river resulted in the death of a large number of cattle last year.

Villagers in the valley depend on Gyama Shingchu for their drinking
water supply and irrigation. However, the river has since dried up
due to destruction of its source by excessive mining. Many of the
natural springs in the area have also dried up deteriorating their
drinking water supply, sources say.

The Chinese miners had to leave the site after a meeting between
Tibetan residents and officials from the Tibetan Autonomous Region on
June 21 brought some settlement. However, the mining soon resumed and
the authorities have threatened Tibetans of being charged with
'separatism' if they stood in their way.

Gyama Shen in Meldro Gongkar is the birthplace of Tibet's great king
Songtsen Gampo (617-650 AD). There are fifteen villages in the
valley, two of which are nomadic.
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