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Discussion about coalkindled in Pathein

There has been an intensification of the discussion about the construction of a coal-fired generating station in Pathein municipality in the Ayeyarwady region, with the Prime Minster of the Ayeyarwady region, U Thein Aung, seemingly giving the most powerful hint so far that the goverment is planning to continue the projekt despite the resistance of the population. After an information trip to Japan and Thailand, the Foreign Affairs Secretary said most ventures had side impacts, but a decision had to be taken.

It was one of several long-term and short-term developments by the state administration. Other are a four-lane motorway between Yangon and Pathein and clothing manufacturers in Pathein and Maubin. "He said that all our developments should be to the advantage of the area. The people living near the site were dissatisfied with the minister's comment on the coal-fired power stations.

"It seems the secretary prefers the scheme, whether there are side impacts or not," said U Tin Shwe of the Pyapon community. "but it' still doing what it wants. Officers say that[a ruling on] federal policies, the institution opportunity that the system has already allowed, and point NGOs liquid body substance to elasticity cognitive process.

Nganyoutkaung coal-fired generating station is being constructed by the Indian firm Tata and has an installation output of 660 megawatt. The project is expected to be completed in 2019 under an arrangement with the Ministry of Electricity in April 2013. It said it could have a second 660 MW facility in place by 2020.

Whilst the Ayeyarwady region is supplied with power and jobs are being created, some inhabitants and NGOs in the state capitol Pathein are asking the local authorities to re-evaluate the scheme in order to minimize its adverse effects and increase its benefit for the population. Not all of them are against the plants.

The 51 towns of Nganyoutkaung are divided into 11 districts, two of which are supporting the work. Some of the villagers said they did not know the detail of the scheme and asked for more visibility, but some were surprised at the project's funding. "Openness is not just a term, it demands deeds.

It is important that we know about this as early as possible," said Ko Soe, who lives in Nganyoutkaung. Municipalities have not acknowledged the rumors that greater damages will be granted to the inhabitants of the area. "A few are happy about the proposal, but we should consider the side effect if the scheme runs over a longer time.

Obviously, I don't think the scheme would help our region," said Ko Soe. Kyaw Thu, PhD, head of Paung Ku, proposed to the administration to consider popular sentiment before taking a final judgement that could influence the general population and to order outcomes. "This should be done by a recognized review body, whether the scheme is administered openly or privately," he said.

The Myanmar Times, a member of a civic organization involved in the Extractive Industry Transparency Initiative (EITI), said they would evaluate the needs and assistance for the work. "We' re not going to try to convince the inhabitants one way or another, but to inform them about coal-fired generating stations and let them choose what they really want, because that's their right," he said.

The Myanmar Foundation for Transparency and Accountability, a group of civic groups working to improve visibility and support the country's bidding processes, is working with the Myanmar administration to carry out official environment and socially responsible audits. Allianz is planning to organize a seminar on this topic with members of the local authorities, companies, politicians, local communities and local people.

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