Wednesday, February 15, 2012

Locals who refused to pay electricity bills sent to prison

The local people in Namtu have to pay extra tax for using electricity by the order of the Namtu’s Ministry of Electricity in Northern Shan State, Burma. They also collect a fee of one thousand Kyats monthly for maintenance of the Meter box even though it is illegal for the authorities to do this.
“It already specifies that customers need to pay twenty five kyats per unit of electricity, but the Minister of electricity collects thirty five Kyats per unit. Therefore, local people are extremely unhappy and have refused to pay their electricity bill” said a Namtu local.
As a result, the residents were fined fifty thousand kyats and their electricity was also cut off by the local ministry of electricity. Although some residents begged and pleaded with the authority, they got no response.
On January 15th, delegates from the Ministry of electricity and local police arrested U Pay Thoung, U Ko Han and U Hla Thin as they refused to pay their electricity bill.
“People from the electricity department and police came into our home and arrested my father using handcuffs. They didn’t allow us to explain or sort out the problem and my father was put in prison for a month and fined fifty thousand kyats. I know of another two people who were subjected to the same ordeal as my father” said by family member of the victim.
On December 8th 2011 at the parliamentary meeting in Nypiadaw an act was passed to increase the cost of electricity per unit. This came in to action in January 2012.

Human Rights Documentation and Information Department
Ta’ang Students and Youth Organization



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