Taung Gup, December 31:
Over 5000 local people on last Sunday protested against the stone producing unit in Arakan State of western Burma. The agitators demanded to halt the project, which is maintained by a Vietnam based company at Napudaung Mountain locality near to Arakan Yoma range, at the earliest.
Members of Arakan State Social Network argued that the stone producing unit, run by the Vietnamese company with the supports from Burma mining ministry, was no way beneficial for the local residents.
“We are not sure how much benefits would go to the locals from the project. Moreover, we are yet to examine the negative implications of the stone producing unit to the local environment. We are really not satisfied with the project,” said U Zaya Thaw of Arakan State Social Network.
The participants of the demonstration, who came from Buthetaung, Sandway, Ramree, Am, Myayboon and Mrouk Oo, want to use the place as a tourist destination as the stone is over 70 million years old. They want a museum for the stone with an eco-tourism plan rather than destroying those precious minerals.
“We here by demand to stop the Napudaung project immediately. We also urge the government to start a tourism project there,” he added clarifying that it was their initial step and later they would send a memorandum to the Vietnam government to direct the company to stop their activities in Arakan.
“If they do not listen to our prayer, we will protest in front of the Vietnamese embassy in our country. Our volunteers will also demonstrate in the project site. We will also block the road to the project locality in need,” he described.
Prior to the protest, the participants rallied at Phaung Daw Oo pagoda by noon. Daw Nyo Aye from Sittwe, Ko Tun Lwin from Kyouk Phyu and, Ko Min Aung & Ko Nay Soe from Taung Gup delivered speeches addressing the gathering. By 1 pm, the agitators left the pagoda site and started the demonstration.