Villages around Loikaw hydropower project lack electricity

Writer: 
Ma Khaing (Loikaw)
The Beluchaung hydropower project in Loikaw Township. (Photo-Ma Khaing)

About half of the households in the villages near the Beluchaung hydropower project in Loikaw Township, Kayah State, have no access to electricity, according to village administrators and town elders.

In 1993, the government installed electric meters in Solasal, Lawkahtoo, Mikekan and Kanni villages in the Lawpita village-tract at a cost of Ks 50,000 per meter. However, newer homes in the are not connected to the power grid.

Khuliyal, an elder from Solasal village, said: “This village is my hometown. It is close to the power plant. But not all houses have access to power. This is due to the low capacity of the transformers. Forests have disappeared here, but the remaining forests have owners. We are facing a shortage of firewood. We won’t be able to cook or hold night classes for children until we have electricity.”

Only 67 out of 144 households in Solasal village have access to electricity, while half of the households in Lawkahtoo village have no electricity.

Kayah State Chief Minister L Phaung Sho held talks with the residents of five villages in the Lawpita village-tract. After the meeting, electricity was installed one village, which is the chief minister’s native village.

The site of the Beluchaung hydropower plants was previously home to nine villages inhabited by Kayah, Kayan and Shan people. Four villages were moved for security reasons and were put on the priority list to receive electricity. However, one of the villages – Dawsoshae village – still has no access to electricity.

Since then, the number of new villages in the area has increased, despite the relocation of ethnic minority villages.