Sunday, October 11, 2015

CPI calculates cost of Myitsone Dam

CPI က ေဒၚလာ ၈၀၀ မီလ်ံ သံုုးစြဲျပီး ျဖစ္ပါသတဲ႕။ ျမန္မာျပည္သူမ်ား ဘာေျပာခ်င္ပါသလဲ။

CPI Yunnan International Power Investment Company (CPIYN) has recalculated its spending on the suspended Myitsone hydropower project, and is waiting for the government to approve the figure.
The developer of Myitsone hydropower dam estimates it has spent US$800 million despite the fact no progress on the project has been made. Photo: Aung Myin Ye Zaw / The Myanmar Times
CPIYN is the majority shareholder in Upstream Ayeyarwady Confluence Basin Hydropower Company (ACHC), the dam’s developer.
The calculation was made in coordination between the Chinese and Myanmar parties, according to a company official who preferred not to be named.
“About US$800 million has been spent on the project,” he said.
The huge hydropower dam in Kachin State was temporarily halted by President U Thein Sein in 2011, around six months after he took office, on the back of widespread local opposition.
The project has been criticised for its impact on the environment and local residents, and its role in fuelling ethnic conflict, as well as a lack of transparency in the way the contract was awarded.
It was set to become one of the world’s largest hydropower plants with an installed capacity of 6000 megawatts.
The CPIYN official did not explain the reason for calculating the project’s expenses. However, according to the contract, Myanmar’s government is required to compensate the Chinese state-owned electricity giant if the project is permanently cancelled.
Until recently CPIYN had been lobbying for the dam to be resumed, and last year hired British reputation management company Bell Pottinger to manage its public relations, though the contract ended in July this year.
CPIYN officials declined to comment on the potential value of a settlement, and said they could not confirm whether the project will be resumed or scrapped altogether.
This largely depends upon the new government. President U Thein Sein said the project would be halted for the duration of his term, leaving the decision in the hands of whoever takes power after the November 8 polls.
He discussed the project with the chair of CPI in a visit to China for “the 70th anniversary of the victory of the world anti-fascist war” in Beijing in September 3.
CPIYN officials did not comment on what had been discussed at the meeting, but said they have not received any instruction to halt the calculation of expenses.
In a joint announcement issued after the president’s visit, both countries said they plan to increase cooperation in “agriculture, power production capacity, finance etc, for common development and the well-being of the two peoples”.
While the ruling Union Solidarity and Development Party has not made a public statement on the future of the dam, opposition leader Daw Aung San Suu Kyi answered questions on the project’s future during her campaign in Kachin State earlier this month.
Asked if she would re-start the project if the National League for Democracy was voted into power – during a question-and-answer session in the state capital Myitkyina – she made no commitment.
She promised to publish details of the $3.6 billion contract between the government and CPIYN, but added, “It would be irresponsible to make promises without knowing the details of the contract. I promise to do what I can, but I’m not going to promise what I cannot deliver. That would be cheating.”
She pointed out that the government would have to pay compensation if the dam is stopped, and asked for residents’ “consideration”.
CPIYN officials said that the company has faced difficulties since the project was suspended.
Several people within the Ministry of Electric Power including permanent secretary U Htein Lwin declined to answer inquiries about the recalculation of expenditure.
Currently 27 employees including seven Chinese staff are based at the site of the Myitsone hydropower project, to work on social relations, said the CPIYN official.
“It is not possible to withdraw the Chinese staff, as local villagers have been relocated and we need to take care of their social affairs,” he said.
Over 2100 people from five villages have been relocated to two resettlement sites, Wang Ping, chief of the department of public affairs at CPIYN, previously told The Myanmar Times.
To facilitate the entire project, which includes six other large dams as well as Myitsone, 18,000 people would need to be relocated from 53 villages – 11,000 of these from the Myitsone area.
Since the project was suspended four years ago, many relocated villagers have returned to their homes to work on the farms and some have opened restaurants and shops.
However, residents said several months ago that authorities have tried to prevent them from returning, in case the project is resumed after U Thein Sein’s term.
The Myitsone Hydropower Project is situated at the confluence of the Malikha and Maykha rivers and is the largest of seven dams slated to be built along the Ayeyarwady, Malikha and Maykha rivers.
The Chibwe Dam is the only project that has gone ahead, and began operations last month. “Chibwe is producing only 25 percent of its capacity and supplying electricity to Myitkyina,” said the CPIYN official.

CPIYN is the majority shareholder in ACHC, a joint venture between the Ministry of Electric Power (15 pc), CPIYN (80pc) and Myanmar Asia World Company (5pc).