Kyauk Pru: Money is being forcibly collected from locals in Kyauk Pru Township, Arakan State, in order to construct schools and clinics donated by the China-Myanmar Oil Pipeline Project, U Thanda Maung, a concerned person from the Rakhine Nationalities Development Party told Narinjara.
“The people who reported the case are from Krone Zway Village Tract. They are facing financial difficulty due to the forceful money collection for the schools and clinics donated by the oil pipeline project,” he said.
A school and clinic, sponsored by the oil pipeline project, are being built in Krone Zway Village and a committee of 7 persons has also been formed, including the village headman and the abbot who sits in the village monastery.
“They collect 5,000 kyat per household for the school and clinics. It’s 3,000 kyat for the poor and the widows. It’s compulsory. They say, if you don’t want to pay, leave the village,” said a villager from Krone Zway on the condition of anonymity.
When asked why the money is being collected when the school and clinics are being sponsored by the China-Myanmar Oil Pipeline project, the committee answered that the money donated by the project is not sufficient for the construction, the villagers reported.
Krone Zway Village Tract exists in No. 7 Myo Chaung Kwan in Kyauk Pru Township and has around 400 to 500 households.
“It’s a big village. This is not the first time they have collected money. Recently, they collected 2,500 kyat per household for brick baking. This kind of repeated money collection has infuriated the villagers and they requested our party and MP U Ba Shin to intervene. So, U Ba Shin has gone out to investigate the case,” said U Thanda Maung.
Narinjara has attempted to contact U Ba Shin several times but has received an operator message that his phone is turned off.
The donated school an clinic in question are being built by Zayar Aung Construction Co. Ltd. and the committee of seven was also organized in negotiation with the company. The monk from the committee is said to be dissatisfied with the villagers for electing the Rakhine Nationalities Development Party in the 2010 election, as he is a supporter of the USDP.
“It is so difficult to discuss things as the village head monk is on the committee. But we can’t bear it anymore, they are collecting too much money unfairly. We have reported the case to the respective authorities, let’s see what is going to happen,” said the villager.
The company is also reportedly using bad bricks and bad wood, while collecting money from the villagers and posting a signboard that reads, “Donated by the China-Myanmar Oil Pipeline Project,” which has made the villagers indignant.