Kengtawng hydro-power plant opened without informing locals
Junta authorities in Southern Shan State held the opening ceremony of the Kengtawng Hydro power plant in Kengtawng sub-township, Mongnai township, Langkher district, but did not inform the local people, according to sources.
By Hseng Khio Fah
6 January 2009
The ceremony was opened by Chairman of Shan State Peace and Development Council, Commander of Eastern Region Command Brig-Gen Ya Pyae and his followers on 30 December 2008.
“They [authorities] came directly to the waterfall with helicopter and opened it [the hydro-power plant] on that day,” said a local villager who wishes to remain anonymous.
However, a week before the ceremony, each household from every village was told to pay Kyat 400,000 (US $333) to the authorities of the electricity department for meter box taxes and the wire costs. But villagers have not been given any electricity even though the construction was completed long ago, said one villager.
“They [authorities] just started providing electricity to us on the day of the opening ceremony. We have never seen any light around our village before today. We are not still sure whether this will last forever or just a short time,” he said.
Area commander Col Tint Lwin informed local people that Kengtawng hydro power would be supplying electricity to the whole southern Shan State, according to SHAN report in 2004.
At present, villagers are worried they will be told to pay more money for using this electricity. The people of Kengtawng have been paying for electricity they have not received since construction of the power plant has been completed in January 2008.
The authorities had planned to hold the ceremony on 21 March 2008, the Full Moon Day of the Fourth Month, according to the lunar calendar and sanctioned locals to open gambling houses in order to obtain funds for it. The authorities received Kyat 200,000 (US $167) per day as tax, according to SHAN report in February 2008.
The Keng Tawng Hydro power plant was built in 19 November 2001. The construction was completed at the end of January 2008.