Myanmar’s government on Tuesday declined a Shan state member of parliament’s proposition to shutter a Chinese-owned coal-fired power plant homeowners of his area state has actually surpassed land usage specs, badly contaminated the regional environment, and endangered their health and incomes.
Shan Nationalities League for Democracy (SNLD) party legislator Sai Tun Aye proposed the motion not to extend the operation duration of the Tigyit coal-fired power plant in Shan state’s Taunggyi district to a parliamentary session in the capital Naypyidaw, mentioning the issues of his constituents, however was rebuffed by Deputy Minister of Electrical Power and Energy Khin Maung Win.
“My answer to the proposal from Sai Tun Aye is that, while the power generation is not very efficient for the region, we do benefit from this plant as it is capable of distributing some amount of electricity to the people,” Khin Maung Win stated at the session.
The deputy minister kept in mind that there “is no record from the [Pinlaung] town health department” which shows that the plant has actually had an unfavorable effect on regional health and the environment, and stated the center likewise benefits regional farmers by dispersing water.
Wuxi Huaguang Electric Power Engineering Co. Ltd., a Chinese energy business concentrating on coal power, runs the plant in Tigyit town. It took over Myanmar’s biggest coal mine– situated about 1.5 miles away– in 2002 to feed the 120- megawatt plant, which ended up being the nation’s first coal-fired power project when it went online in 2005.
Khin Maung Win stated Tuesday that when Wuxi Huaguang started updating the plant in 2016, the government provided the business approval to run the center on a yearly basis up until 2019, after which authorities gave it the right to do so for an extra 3 years “because it ran the plant according to the law.”
In the meantime, an examination committee including regional homeowners, the Shan state government, a group from the Pa-O Self-Administered Zone that manages Pinlaung town, and the Ministry of Electrical Power and Energy have actually been frequently signing in on the plant to ensure it abides by operating requirements, he stated.
He added that the plant uses 318 employees–more than 200 of whom are homeowners of the area.
Mountains of coal are stacked near a pasture in Tigyit town, Pinlaung town, in Myanmar’s northern Shan state, August 2019.
Credit: RFA video screenshot
Reacting to Khin Maung Win’s discuss Tuesday, Sai Tun Aye informed RFA’s Myanmar Service that the deputy minister had actually stopped working to resolve the main property of homeowners’ grievances he presented in his proposition.
“The minister’s answer was that they burn coal and we get power, which is a benefit,” he stated.
“What I meant was whether it is a good project when you compare the environmental damages to the benefits we get,” he added.
“Does the plant support society or simply the country’s economy? If we are only getting a little bit of energy in exchange for the health and environment of the local people, we should reconsider renewing permission for the plant.”
Sai Tun Aye kept in mind that homeowners and regional civil society companies (CSOs) have actually held duplicated demonstrations over the plant’s effect and stated that it must just be allowed to continue operating if it is updated to utilize international requirements for dealing with coal by-products.
According to the Myanmar Times, the Tigyit plant was closed in 2014 for disregarding a waste management demand released by the Ministry of Electrical Power and Energy, which had actually gotten grievances about the effect of waste from the center on the surrounding environment.
The list below year, Wuxi Huaguang was approved a 22- year license by the government to recommence operations after it vowed to update the plant and perform the essential waste management treatments.
However in spite of the upgrade and Khin Maung Win’s persistence that the plant has actually considering that run in line with the interests of the neighborhood, resident Sein Thaung informed RFA that it is “really destroying the environment” through the contamination of air and water, in addition to damage to regional facilities.
” When they blow up [gunpowder in the] coal mines, our homes vibrate and we are likewise subjected to landslides,” he stated, including that neighboring towns are likewise handling a lack of water due to the fact that it has actually been diverted to the mine.
” It is true that our nation gets a bit of power from this plant, however countless people have actually ended up being ill, our environment is ruined, and we have actually lost our land.
Reported by Thiha Htun for RFA’s Myanmar Service. Equated by Khet Mar. Composed in English by Joshua Lipes.