Authorities are holding discussions on using a solar power system in the Lay Kay Kaw newtown in Myawaddy Township, Karen State until electricity is available for the settlement development project.
Lay Kay Kaw newtown is situated nine -miles south of Myawaddy town and was built to accommodate conflict affected communities, including displaced villagers, refugees and families members of the Karen National Union.
Although the new inhabitants have been provided with housing, there is no electricity. The Karen State government and Japan’s Nippon Foundation have been discussing using a solar power system until electricity is available.
U Soe Hlaing, the Karen State minister for Electricity and Industry told Karen News, “we have to buy electricity from Thailand. At present, we are waiting for a draft bond. As there is no electricity yet, the Ministry of Border Affairs has discussed setting up a solar power system.”
Although there has been promises that the electricity would be running by March, it has not been available.
Saw Than Myint, the youth leader of Lay Kay Kaw’s new town, said that if electricity is available, the refugees who live there now could start earning a living.
“Electricity is not available but, we know that the responsible officials have tried. We have heard that a solar power system is going to be set up. If electricity is available, we hope people will be able to start to earn a living.”
Saw Htay Myint Aung, the secretary of the rehabilitation committee, said that 3,200 refugees and family members of the KNU have already been settled in Lay Kay Kaw since February 2017.
Although the living conditions have been good, job opportunities are still few for the refugees.
The Lay Kay Kaw’s newtown five-year plan began in June, 2014, after negotiations between the KNU and the Burma Government. The estimated newtown area is 1,800 acres out of which 755 acres are to be put into use.
According to the Lay Kay Kaw rehabilitation committee when the planned completion of the newtown’s 1,500 houses it has predicted that refugees from the border camps will come back. However, only 650 low-cost houses have been built.