Locals protest against using palace ruins in road construction

(Narinjara News, 22 October 2014):

Ancient-pots

The indigenous people of Arakan raise voices against the use of soil and stone splinters from the Mrouk Oo ancient palace on the construction of roads in the State. They also expressed their resentments that a huge volume of royal palace ruins including the historically important soil was used in repairing some city walls in different locations.

According to  an eye witness, the authority has used various stones, brick tiles of ancient monuments in the road construction activities. “We saw many valuable ancient tools, which were dig-out from the palace ground, are now being used in the construction of roads,” said the local eye witness.

He mentioned about the Mrouk Oo-Kyauk Taw road in Sanshap Seik quarter, where those broken ancient tools were used.

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“Pieces of palace roof, porcelain and bricks are related to our ancient heritage. We oppose it and would like to demand for preserving the ancient palace and temples across Arakan,” said U Tun Hlaing, a local leader.

A local monk U Kay Thara  also protested against the use of temple soil in other activities. He disclosed that recently while he visited Mrouk Oo palace ground, he got surprised to see many broken ancient pots, plats, bricks at inner walls of the palace. He brought some ancient ruins of pot, plats as souvenir and fervently urged the authority to restore and preserve the palace of historical importance.

“Mrouk Oo is an ancient city and there are plenty of ancient structures till today. The archaeologists and academicians should not
ignore the Arakanese places of importance,” he asserted.

Mentionable is that Mrouk Oo palace was constructed by Arakanese King Min Saw Mon in 1430 AD and it was destroyed by Boedaw U Wine while invading Arakan kingdom in 1784. The last king of Arakan was Maha Thamada Razar. His predecessors maintained the city for over 300 years.

Besides Mrouk Oo city, there were few other important destinations like Danyawaddy and Vasali during those days. The Rangoon-Ann road crosses through the old Danyawaddy city, which initially angered many people in the locality for destroying some old city monuments in its construction.

The Burmese ministry for cultural affairs has already enlisted Hanlin, Vishnu and Tharay Cattra in Burma for UNESCO world heritage sites. Now it is trying its best to include Bagan in the list. However the cultural affairs ministry has not made visible efforts to put Danyawaddy, which exited since 6 BC (to 4 AD) in the list of world heritage sites. Many Arakanese archaeologists have blamed the Union ministry for discriminating the appreciators of Danyawaddy.

The development activities in Arakan have destroyed many historical sites like Thazintan Hills, Praysoe Gree Pagoda, Mungalar Wall, Khrunkite Wall, Ahmrunt Taung Fortress, Khrunkite Fortress, Rae Hla Fortress, Rae Hla Gate, Rae Hla Moat, and Kyein Rwa Moat etc besides Mrouk Oo palace in the recent past. The major destruction was observed in the construction of Sittwe to Ann railway track by the concerned ministry in 2010.

mu-palaceAn Arakanese archaeologist  Thu Mrat (Maha Aung Myay) also opposed the use of soil from the palace ground in the construction of roads.

“Mrouk Oo palace ground is a holly place for every Arakanese. So we cannot support the use of broken palace tiles or other items in any construction activities. The responsible authorities must play their effective roles here,” he added.

U Aung Kyaw Zan, a senior officer in State archaeological department, admitted while talking to Narinjara News that few quantity of soil from the ancient palace was used in the road construction. But he argued that the soil was discarded around 15 years back. The department has not done any digging activities in the recent past, he claimed. He also explained some recent plans to beautify the old palace and temples in Arakan.