Sai Din Hydropower Project Resumes-“The project has already started with the help of the Chinese government, and it is a five-year project set to complete in 2014,”
Buthidaung: Construction on the Sai Din hydropower plant in northern Arakan State started in March 2009 with the aim of developing power to distribute in Arakan, said an engineer from the Buthidaung municipal office.
“The project has already started with the help of the Chinese government, and it is a five-year project set to complete in 2014,” he said.
The Sai Din hydropower site is located 30 miles southeast of Buthidaung, a town in northern Arakan State.
“The project is situated on the Sai Din Waterfall, the largest waterfall in Arakan, and it is estimated it will have a capacity of 70 megawatts,” he added.
Burmese governments in the past, including the U Nu government, tried to set up a hydropower on the Sai Din Waterfall but were unsuccessful due to many obstacles. In 1952, one foreign engineer was killed by a group from the Burma Communist Party while he was working on a hydropower project in the area. After the incident, the government stopped the work on the plant.
In 1988, soon after the SLORC took power, the government announced that it would set up a hydropower plant at the waterfall but three years later the project was postponed for unknown reasons.
The Burmese military government resumed the project this year after the Arakanese community blamed the government for their neglect of Arakan’s development and the short 2-hour supply of electricity that Arakanese towns receive every day.
The engineer said, “I’m sure this time the government will set up the power plant despite previous projects failing, because many materials are arriving at the construction site and many engineers are working at the site currently.”
The Burmese military junta announced publicly in January 2009 that the government would establish two large projects – the Sai Din hydropower plant and a railway route – in Arakan State, with the aim of developing the region.
Many Arakanese people believe the government announcement is just intended to garner support for the pro-military government party in the 2010 elections.