Shopkeepers Face Burden of Fees after Market Fire in Thandwe

Thandwe: Shopkeepers in the main market in Thandwe in southeastern Arakan State, which was recently damaged by fire, are facing additional burdens as the local municipal authority is collecting fees from them to build a temporary market, said one of the shopkeepers.

The fire that broke out on 11 February, 2012, in the Dawrawady Myoma Market in Thandwe left 740 stores in the market completely destroyed and caused losses upwards of a hundred million kyat.

“The municipal authorities are now collecting a fee that ranges from 150,000 to 170,000 Kyat from a shopkeeper to build a temporary market at the old football grounds in the town before reconstructing the market devastated by the fire. Now we the shopkeepers are feeling very upset because the authorities have troubled us with an additional burden while we are are already suffering from the fire,” said the shopkeeper.

He said the government should provide some aid to the shopkeepers who are now suffering from great losses and troubles from the fire.

“In the condition while people are suffering from great losses and trouble, the government should bear expenses for building the temporary market, and later it can collect its expenses for the market from the shopkeepers gradually. Now it is quite clear that the government has no sympathy or good will towards the people and it is giving more trouble to the people who are already troubled,” he said.

According to him, the local municipal authorities are now planning to rebuild the market destroyed by the fire by collecting advance payments from the shopkeepers for the stores in the market as well.

“The municipal officials told us that they would rebuild the market in a modern design and would sell the shops in the market in advance and that those who are unable to afford the price in advance would not get a shop in the market. Now all of the shopkeepers are dissatisfied with them upon hearing their plans because the shopkeepers are suffering from great losses and most of them will lose their livelihoods if those plans are carried out,” said the shopkeeper.

He said the shopkeepers at present are continuing their trade by building makeshift shops around the market that was damaged by the fire. According to a report from the local fire service, 740 out of a total 909 stores in the market were destroyed in the fire, causing total losses of 650 million kyat.