Chairperson of the Border Area and National Races Development Affairs Central Committee State Counsellor Daw Aung San Suu Kyi yesterday attended the opening ceremony of a solar power plant in Manaung, Rakhine State and met with local people.
The State Counsellor and her entourage left Nay Pyi Taw for Thandwe by special flight, and then they flew to Manaung by helicopter to attend the ceremony.
The power plant with Solar PV and Energy Storage System (ESS) and a Diesel Hybrid System is part of corporate social responsibility efforts of POSCO International Corporation’s Shwe Natural Gas Project, and Phase-1 of the plant was implemented at a cost of US$2.5 million.
With 1,411 solar panels, 720 batteries, and a two-hour energy storage system, the project will produce 0.5 MW of power and supply electricity to 1,435 households in five wards of Manaung and three nearby villages.
Phase-2 of the project will be carried out with the assistance of the Korea International Cooperation Agency.
Power supply through the national grid reached 50 percent of the country in December this year.
Speaking at the event, Union Minister for Electricity and Energy U Win Khaing pledged that his ministry would continue to make efforts for supplying power to remaining areas which have not access to power and invited the cooperation of the local people in the drive.
He said the power supply from the plant would improve the socio-economic life of the people in Manaung Township, adding that small and medium enterprises which will emerge with power supply would create job opportunities to local people.
Afterwards, Rakhine State Chief Minister U Nyi Pu detailed about the plans for supply power to the whole township. Afterwards, Chief Executive Officer of POSCO International Corporation Mr Kim Young Sang extended greetings.
Next, Managing Director of the Myanma Oil and Gas Enterprise U Myo Myint Oo handed over documents related with the power plant to Managing Director of the Electric Power Supply Enterprise U Saw Win Maung.
The ministry sets its target of supplying power to 55 per cent of the whole country in 2021, over 75 per cent in 2025-2026 and 100 per cent in 2030.
To reach its target, the ministry is making all possible ways including solar power, mini-hydro power, wind-power and diesel-fired power plants.
During the three and half years period from April 2016 to September 2019, the ministry has increased 904 MW, 19,611 miles of power cables and 12,635 MVA sub-power stations, and 72 towns and 6,038 villages could gain access to the power supply network.
The electricity consumption has increased from 34 per cent of the country in 2016 to 50.09 per cent this year. While consumption increases, production is targeted to increase 1,166 MW.
Works on power supply to Rakhine State through the national grid started in 2011, and in December 2014, the people in Taungup, Kyaukpyu, An, Ponnagyun, Sittway, MraukU, Thandwe, Yanbye, Kyauktaw and nearby areas could get access to the national power supply network. To supply power to the areas in Mai, Minbya and nearby areas, two sub-power stations were established in 2016, and to supply power to Gwa Township and nearby areas, cable installation and one sub-power station was established in July 2017.
Three and half years period after the incumbent government took office, the ministry could supply power to Gwa, Mai, Minbya, Gwa, Kyeintali, Myebon, Pauktaw, Sane, Kandaukkyi, Tattaung, Rathedaung, Buthidaung and Maungtaw, and has sets a target to supply power to Kyeinchaung through Maungtaw at the end of 2020.
As 23 towns, 561 villagers and 125,595 households in Rakhine State has got access to national power supply network in 2019, the electrification ration has reached 30.55 per cent. The ministry has targeted to reach the electrification ration to 55 per cent in 2021-2022 and 75 per cent in 2025-2026.
At the meeting, the State Counsellor delivered the address, expressing thanks to Rakhine State Chief Minister U Nyi Pu and the audience.
She explained the importance of visit to Rakhine State as the area is encountering instability and armed conflicts, adding that every corner of the country, either with conflicts or with no conflicts, is included in the Union of Myanmar.
The State Counsellor said, “I need to pay more attention on the conflict-stricken areas. For example, a doctor needs to take more care to an unhealthy person as healthy persons can lead their lives steadily and keep up their healthy lifestyles. So, we are focusing on stability and development of Rakhine State.
While the 50 percent whole country has connected with national power grid recently, electricity distributions in Rakhine State has reached 52 percent. It exceeds an average of the whole country. It did not happen incidentally, but it was well planned.
Both transport electricity is important for the whole country, especially in instable areas. Rakhine State lagged behind other areas for decades. We are paying more attention on this area. It was not because of armed conflicts. Since the government took office in 2016, we have decided to solve problems of Rakhine State as we have expected that other countries would blame us.
Regardless of any external pressure, we need to solve our problems by ourselves. So, we formed the Central Committee for the Implementation of Peace, Stability and Development in Rakhine State within two months of our administration as we believed only development and rule of law could help the Rakhine State achieve development and peace.
It can be assumed that armed conflicts and attacks to police stations, beginning 2016, were intended to undermine the potentials for development, and to put pressure on our country from other countries. It was very unacceptable. Someone who loves this country must avoid such inappropriate actions. This problem is related with the whole country like any organ is a part of body, and that any disease of these organs are concerned with the body. No one can be said to be healthy as they have any disease in their organ.
It should be understood that any problem at any part of our country is related with the whole Union. Everybody needs to develop such attitude as it is more important in the conflict-affected areas, like Rakhine, as we are in the same boat.
I have already said that using armed power for change would be very unwise, cowardly or lacking of good intentions. Any person with good intentions for the country will never commit destructive acts. Moreover, everybody needs to find solutions steadily how to make changes for development. The lack of knowledge could not find a right solution, and the lack of endeavours could not implement the solution.
The country has now many opportunities for changes. One of them is the elections. Any party does not get a favour in the elections, including the National League for Democracy. Instead, were oppressed. In accordance with the policy of party, we always keep on non-violence way. We organized people with the strength of honesty and respect as we have no armed or financial powers.
We also value people and explained our needs and goals. As people realized our policies, we gained their supports to form a government. Therefore, people need to abide by democratic practices. Common sense of individuals could help in development of the country. So, we need consider the importance of common sense which does not focus on egoism. The egoism could deter a common sense. Instead, we need to focus on pluralism.
In a wider view, everyone must not have selfishness that centers individual organization, race or community. We must recognize people with different views from us. It is also required to develop personal capacity to point out and correct the wrong views. It would be very short-sighted to make physical attacks to others with conflicting idea. It would only be a cowardly attack. Applying wisdom is not an easy way to reach the goals. Abuse of power and violent attacks were opted very easily. The victims are Rakhine people.
Manaung has a good opportunity for development. We will help the locals fully enjoy these potentials. So, we need participation of these people to reach the goal. It must be considered for the long term. Development of the country takes times like a long race. It will not be finished in short term, but needs regular and constant efforts.
Therefore, we need to understand when to do and what to do, without focusing only on a certain group. Rakhine people need to thoroughly consider it for the peace of the whole country.
During my tours, I tried to meet with the people in respective areas because I want to know their concerns and want to give a message who to follow democratic practices. Some persons are abusing these opportunities. It will be dangerous for all to misuse any chance, including democratic practices. And that these opportunities must be properly converted into power. During the mass meetings, people are urged to voice essential requirements for the development of regions. I also tried to replied to personal issue. But I prefer common issues. I always try to reply the questions of my people.
Afterwards, U Tun Myint Zaw of the Kannar Ward, Manaung Township, reported on lack of paving on the 11 mile distance section of the ring road around the Manaung Island, U Maung Win Hlaing of Palin Village-tract on building a reservoir for supplying safe drinking water for the people in Palin, Kai and Kantaing village-tracts, U Pu Phyu of Kyinyo Village-tract on laying pipes to distribute water from a dam to Latpyin-Kyinyo-Kansun village-tracts, U Tin Shwe Samonte Village-tract on construction of a gravel road passing through the Maungaung Island, U Khin Maung Gyi of Theinmala Village-tract on running of Manaung-Yanbye Z-craft, Daw Thidar Win of Nyaungkon Village on construction of Nyaungpinhla-Nyaungkon village-to-village linking road, U Chit Aye of Kinte Village on supply power to areas three miles away from a town, U Myint Shwe of Kyino Village on providing a ambulance to Kyinyo, Latme and Kanzun villagers, U Khin Maung Win Meinmakywe on repairing a lake and U Win Myint Thein of Thitpon Village on getting fee for the land used for MPT Tower.
Deputy Minister U Kyaw Myo and Rakhine State ministers answered the queries of the local people explaining the works which can be implemented in a short period and long period. The State Counsellor attended to the needs.
The State Counsellor asked local authorities to inform the people about the work they do and explain the benefits to the people.
On behalf of the Rakhine State Government and the local authorities, the State Counsellor offered her apologies to the people for any lack of explanations. People respond depending on what they understand, she said.
She also expressed thanks to the local people for attending the meeting. “People need to understand that they have responsibilities and rights as well,” said the State Counsellor, urging the people to do their work respectfully with the correct use of their rights. “If the government and the people use their responsibilities and rights correctly, Myanmar would see development at high speed,” she said. She wished the people in Manaung and Rakhine State good health and wellbeing.—MNA (Translated by Aung Khin)