Sittwe: Electricity worth 697.5 megawatts will be produced by four hydropower projects in Arakan State, if all goes according to plan, Electric Power Minister Colonel Zaw Min said during a meeting with Senior General Maung Aye, during his visit to a hydropower project in southern Arakan.
The Burmese military government has four hydropower projects in the works for Arakan State. Two of the projects are currently under construction, while another two are awaiting implementation.
Col. Zaw Min said during the meeting that there were two hydropower projects - Tha Htay Chaung and Ann Chaung - that are now under construction and would be completed within the next few years.
The authorities expect the Tha Htay Chaung plant located in Thandwe Township to produce 111 megawatts of power, while the Ann Chaung plant in Ann Township is expected to produce ten megawatts of power.
The remaining two hydropower projects on the Laymro River and the Sai Din waterfall, are expected to produce 576.5 megawatts, but are still in the pre-construction phase of work.
According to a government source, the Laymro River hydropower dam is likely to produce 500 megawatts, while the Sai Din hydropower plant in Buthidaung has the potential to produce 76.5 megawatts of power.
The Laymro River and Sai Din projects had garnered interest from the previous Bangladeshi government for investment as the two locations are both near the border, but it is unclear whether or not Bangladesh will ultimately help fund the projects.
Arakan State has many potential locations for hydropower projects, but Burmese authorities have never earlier considered undertaking such work. Due to this, many towns in Arakan State do not receive regular electric power supply, while a few towns receive just two hours of electricity per day.
The Burmese military government had propagated the idea among the Arakanese when they gained power in 1988, that Arakan at night would be as bright as daylight due to electricity. However, after 20 years of military rule, there is little electricity for Arakanese people, who have been suffering from lack of power.
A businessman from Maungdaw said, "Our town is located at a key place on the western Burmese border, but we receive only two hours of electricity every four days. Teknaf in Bangladesh, opposite our town, receives 24 hours of electricity every day. It is very shameful when we recall the Burmese military government propaganda."
Despite the military government's claims that electricity would be distributed to the people in Arakan after the hydropower projects are completed, many Arakanese people are still doubtful whether they will ever see power.
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