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Shan Coal Power Plant to Run Health Tests

Tikyit coal-fired power plant in southern Shan State will be tested for one year and if the results point to serious consequences, it will be stopped, says Swe Thein, Shan State’s minister for electric power, energy and industry.

Wuxi Huaguang Electric Power Engineering Co Ltd hired the plant from the ministry on a 22-year lease.

He said: “We have a meeting at Tikyit. We will organise many committees, including one concerned with health care in cooperation with Khun San Lwin, leader of Pa-O self-administered zone. If there are serious health problems during trials, the plant will be closed.”

Only 34 per cent of households in Shan State had access to electricity so the state government was trying its best to supply electricity in every possible way, he said.

Tikyit residents are asking for environmental- and social-impact assessments, saying coal-fired plants have serious consequences in health, education, religion, agriculture and social sectors.

“The consequences are not only affected Tikyit but also Aungban, Nyaungshwe and Taunggyi. So people from those areas also have to be included in the committees. It should not have happened. People from the whole nation are angry about it. The government needs the public’s trust. We are afraid of the serious consequences to generate electricity using the coal-fired power plant,” said Ko Moe from the Myanmar Alliance for Transparency and Accountability in the state.

“We want the government to make full assessments in Tikyit. First, it needs to test water in the stream as it reaches Moebye, Pekon and Inle and kills the fish. And then test the air and finally the soil, which is also contaminated,” said villager Chit Wai.

Khin May Than, who is working to educate the villagers, said: “Villagers have miscarriages, hypertension and coronary artery disease due to the plant. The diseases happen in every village. The ash emitted from the plant kills the crops. The ash poisons the people.”

Villager Sein Thaung said: “The ministers and state government say they will run it soon. We are against the project. Pagodas and homes are damaged but they are not being repaired. We lose agricultural land. We are suffering from it.”

 

Source: Eleven Myanmar

 

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