Friday, 11 July 2008

Public Generator Commandeered by Army

Narinjara - A generator that was bought with public funds to supply electricity in Sittwe was taken by the army for use in a cantonment in the Arakan state capital, said a local resident.

He said, "The generator was owned by the townspeople of Sittwe but the army has grabbed it for the army cantonment without any concern for the public."

The generator was bought by Sittwe residents through the Sittwe Electricity Committee in 2000, and it was used to distribute nearly two hours of electricity per day to three or four wards located downtown.

"The Sittwe Electricity Committee lost profit by distributing electricity to the town with the generator, so the committee stopped distributing electricity and kept the generator in the compound of U Ottama garden," he said.

When army authorities heard the generator was being kept by the townspeople, they took the generator to the army headquarters located outside of Sittwe.

A source said even though the generator was taken by the army, electricity is still being distributed to people from 7 pm to 10 pm every day. However, the electricity is being distributed by EPC using an older generator.

"We have received one hour more of electricity every day since the public-owned generator was grabbed by the army. We received only two hours a day before. I think it is being done with the intent of luring people to support the army's commandeering of the generator," he said.

A witness said the army authorities have been using the generator for the army cantonment after taking it from the people.

Although Sittwe is the capital of Arakan State, it receives only two to three hours of electric power in a day. Most towns in Arakan State are facing a power supply shortage as the government authority does not provide support or fuel to run the generators.

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