Taninthayi residents protest against coal power plant

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Residents from a village in Myeik Township have protested against a Thai company’s plans to build a huge power plant by the mouth of the Taninthayi River. They later attended a press conference on the project held at Tone Bjo village to voice their opposition.

Local residents strongly criticized the plan to build a coal-fired plant in Myanmar – which could generate more than 2,600 Megawatts of power – and asked why Thailand did not implement such a project in their country.

One local living in Tone Bjo village said: “Construction of a coal-fired power plant may be harmful to people here. Moreover, [officials] have said they would pay compensation for our farmland, but we can’t sell our farmland at prices they paid us. We have to earn a living farming at our native village.

“They said that the project would require workers – between 500 and 1,000 and that they [labourers] would have to do odd jobs. But the project would be completed after two years, and we would become jobless then. We don’t want the project.”

A politician who attended the briefing last Wednesday said: “The residents wanted to stage a protest against the project. There are many villagers denouncing the project – they were not only standing on the road but also attending a press briefing. Officials from the company didn’t exactly answer the queries raised by the villagers. They [officials] told them [villagers] to discuss matters about the project again.”

The Thai company involved is Ratchaburi Electricity Generating Holding Public Co Ltd. It has pledged to only use refined coal at the plant. They also claimed that they would distribute electricity fully to Taninthayi Region and that any extra power generated would be relayed to Thailand.

The heavy coal-fired power plant would be built by the Ministry of Electric Power together with Ratchaburi and Blue Energy & Environment Co Ltd, also from Thailand, as well as Myanmar’s Kyaw Kyaw Phyo Co Ltd.

Environmentalists have said previously they fear the coal plant would also do serious damage to the river, which is an important source of water and fish, as well as adding to the problem of global warming.

The plant has been proposed in Taninthayi because the region is off the national electricity grid.

 
24 August 2014
Eleven Myanmar

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