YANGON, April 11 (Xinhua) -- People in Myanmar's southern Mon state were hailing the recent inauguration of a China-built combined cycle gas turbine power plant in the state that has made over 1,500 villages in the state possible for access to electricity.
The power plant of 118.9 megawatts' capacity was built by China Energy Engineering Corporation (CEEC) after it won the tender with Myanmar's related ministry for implementing the project.
The electricity generated from the plant in Thaton township will be transferred to the national power grid through the 230-kilovolt (KV) Sittaung-Thaton and 230-KV Thaton-Mawlamyine power stations, experts said.
In an interview with Xinhua, U Maung Oo, Taungmu village administrator, said a total of seven villages lying around the power plant under his administration have got electricity.
"Now the electricity is sufficient reaching a standard voltage of 220 V. With each village possessing a transformer, it has brought about much facility and welfare without needing to make wood logging in the forest any longer," he said, adding that some households are running refrigeration business, boosting the economic status of villagers.
He recalled that in the past, there were only three villages in the village-tract supplied with electricity, while almost all villages located around the power plant are now accessible to electricity with streets being lit up.
He also said the building of the power plant has also raised the income of local villagers with the daily income being increased to 10,000 (6.62 U.S. dollars) to 12,000 kyats (7.95 U.S. dollars) from 4,000 (2.65 U.S. dollars) to 5,000 kyats (3.31 U.S. dollars) previously after the Chinese company came here to construct power plant hiring the villagers as employees. In addition to the income, villagers were able to learn about technology such as electric welding technique.
U Soe Thiha, a parliamentarian of the House of Nationalities (Upper House) from Paung township, Mon state constituency, told Xinhua that the power plant brought about much change with the region. Previously, it lacked electricity but now it has eased the pressing demand in this area and the industry in the Mon state has got developed, especially with the private industrial business, thus playing an effective role in the area's economic development.
He expected pouring in more foreign investment to develop Mon state where demand for electricity is still high.
He expressed welcome over any foreign investment as long as it is beneficial to the state and the people. However, he stressed that the investment project needs to tackle some difficulties of local people to certain extent, holding that it would be better if the investment project directly benefits the mass of the people.
In another interview with Xinhua, Daw Nu Nu Wai, a female assistant engineer with the Machinery Operation Department living in Thaton township, was proud of having an opportunity to take part in the project which is in the interest of local people.
Praising that the machinery and the technology of the newly-built power plant are very much advanced, she said, "Before it was manually controlled, while it is now switched to auto-controlled."
Daw Thet Su Mon, a junior engineer of the Machinery Operation Department of Thaton power plant, expressed delight over the advancement of technology, saying that there is 24-hour availability of electricity now against limited hour of supply in the past.
U Tay Zar Lwin, also a junior engineer of the Thaton plant, said there is an estimated number of over 100 Myanmar engineers working with the power plant, thanking their Chinese counterparts for sharing experiences and conducting training with them.
At the inaugural ceremony of the power plant held in Thaton on April 5, Myanmar State Counselor Aung San Suu Kyi expressed thanks to respective individuals for supporting the government's implementation of the project which she said is a key to peace and stability as well as development of the country.