Skepticism over Govt’s Promise to Boost Electric Supply in Chin State
09 August 2012: The government of Chin State said in a meeting held in Hakha last Tuesday that plans are underway to increase supply of electricity generated by hydropower to Chin villagers. Pu Cin Lian Pau, Chin Minister of Electric Power and Industry, said work will begin soon in Kanpetlet and Tonzang townships as well as Rihkhuadar and Cikha sub-townships. In response to a question regarding supply of electricity from the National Power Grid in Magwe Division, the Union Minister said it will only be possible in the next two years as it is a 2012-13 project.
However, Chin community leaders complained that the government officials did not present a clear picture of the project implementation, adding: “How can we trust them without any specific set of deliverables?”
The meeting was attended by about 300 people including community leaders, church pastors, representatives of NGOs (non-governmental organizations) and INGOs (international non-governmental organizations) and government officials.
Answering a question raised by Chin MP Pu Zung Hlei Thang on supply of electricity at Amyotha Hluttaw session on 21 March 2011, Minister for Electric Power No. 2 U Khin Maung Myint said: “Nine diesel engines with installation capacity of 423 kilowatts benefit Kanpetlet, Rezua, Rihkhuadar and Cikha. As engines run on diesel allotted by the government, those towns can enjoy electricity two hours a day.”
On 18 July this year, Paletwa locals sent a letter to President Thein Sein, demanding a three-hour supply of electricity to the biggest town in Paletwa Township.
A Khumi-Chin leader from Paletwa Township told Chinland Guardian: “The government keeps saying they provided electricity without knowing what is actually going on with the local people. We haven’t received what we demanded in reality.”
Minister for Electric Power No. 2 U Khin Maung Myint also said some towns and villages in Chin State would receive a 24-hour supply of electricity by January 2012 through eight small-scale hydropower stations.
But sources confirm there are no Chin towns or villages that get electricity 24 hours a day up to now.
During his presentation at the meeting, Minister of Security and Border Affairs Colonel Zaw Min Oo said 326 out of 1370 towns/villages are supplied electricity through hydropower stations.
Reporting by Thawng Zel Thang