Public protest to demand electricity supply in Hakha
10 January 2013: A peaceful demonstration is planned next Monday to demand an increase of electricity supply in Hakha, Chin State.
More than 2,000 people are believed to march in a public protest in the Chin capital from Vomthumawng football ground up to Bogyoke Park.
The first public Hakha rally in years aims to urge the government of Chin State to improve the current supply of electricity, which is provided once in a four-day time from 6pm to 11pm.
Pu Huat Chum, one of the protest organizers, said people in Hakha received electricity for only about 35 out of 720 hours a month.
“This really is the main factor negatively affecting our environment, businesses, education, health, works and eventually ways of life,” added Pu Huat Chum.
Pa Thang, a community leader from Hakha, told Chinland Guardian that the irregularity of electricity supply had left families no choice but to find out other ways to get light in their houses at night.
“Electricity supplied by the government is so unreliable that people now tend to ignore even its existence. Families still have to use firewood for cooking,” added Pa Thang.
The government said it would construct power lines that would generate enough electricity for the whole town in three years, according to the organizers.
However, an alternative way to providing electricity for the three-year period must be sought, the organizers added.
A government employee at Hakha General Hospital said: “A 24/7 supply of electricity is essential to effectively improving our service. Not only staff members but also patients are affected unnecessarily as a result of lack of power.”
Recently, a local ward administrator in Hakha openly challenged government ministers including Chief Minister Hung Ngai at a public meeting over ‘unfair’ supply of electricity, saying a special line has been set up to provide electricity to certain ‘selected’ areas including military camps on Mount Rung.
Reporting by Thawng Zel Thang