Villagers Write and Protest Road Damage by Shwe Gas Project

Kyauk Pru: Villagers on Mala Kyunt village in Kyaukpru in Arakan State have written a protest letter to the local authorities after the main road that was built on their own self-help basis was damaged by the heavy trucks used in the Shwe Gas Project.

“200 Villagers have signed the protest letter and we sent the letter to the office of the Kyaukpru Township administrator yesterday. We have also demanded that the office look into the matter and solve our difficulties as soon as possible or we will stage a demonstration for our damaged road,” said the leader of the villagers.

A factory for gas refining is reportedly being built by Daewoo and a number of other factories are also being built by Chinese and Indian companies on Mala Kyunt village.

“Our road is now completely damaged because their heavy trucks have been driving on the road every day and night. The two-mile long road is now covered with quagmires. No bike or small vehicle can go on it. Now everyone is troubled for their travel – for students and teachers to go to their schools as well as for the villagers to go to the markets and other places on the island – because the road is now damaged and completely unusable,” said the village leader.

He added that foreign companies, including Daewoo, have built fine entry-roads to their factories, but have neglected to repair the village’s road that has been damaged by their heavy trucks.

The villagers are said to have demanded the companies repair their village road, but the officials of the companies told them they are not responsible for repairing the road.

“We have demanded the companies repair our road because it was built by ourselves on our self-help basis. But the officials of the companies, including Daewoo, never care for our demands. They told us that they are not responsible. So we have finally to write to the authorities,” he said.

He added that copies of the letter addressed to the township administrator were also sent to the Chief Minister of Arakan State, the chairman of the Arakan State parliament, and the lawmaker from the people’s parliament for Kyaukpru Township, U Ba Shin.

The office of the Rakhine Nationalities Development Party in Kyaukpru also said it has received the letter from the villagers and would cooperation with them on their demands for the road to be reconstructed.

The road connects Mala Kyunt village and Kyuakpru and villagers from ten villages, including Leikkhamaw, Rwama, Rwahaung, Shwezin, and Ngalakyaun along the road are said to be facing trouble for their travel as the road is badly damaged.