Thursday, January 15, 2009

Households in Ye Township forced to supply truckloads of construction materials

(IMNA) -Households along the main road through Khawza Sub-township, Ye Township, Mon State, are each being forced to supply raw materials for road repairs, say local residents.

Beginning on January 1st, over 100 households along the short road have had to supply two pickup truck loads of stones for road repairs.

“Residents along the main road have been collecting stones from January 1st until now, ever since the head authorities at each quarter ordered them,” said a teacher from Khawza. In late December, Township Peace and Development Council (TPDC) officials met with authorities from quarters in Khawza and informed them that households would be required to supply construction materials. Quarter authorities then went house to house informing residents along the road of the demand.

According to teacher, each household has to invest as much as 32,000 kyat to provide the stones; 8,000 kyat for each load of stones and 8,000 kyat for the transportation in each truck. None of the households have been, or will be, reimbursed for the purchase of the stones or the time it took to deliver them.

Construction on the road has yet to begin, however, and villagers are unsure what the TPDC Chairman’s next step will be. Some surmised, however, that they would also be forced to help make the repairs. According to a public servant with the Khawza Development Affairs Office, which is responsible for road maintenance, area residents have a responsibility to develop their town and nation. It is not only the duty of the Department of Development Affairs, he said.

Unpaid, forced labor is commonly used to make road repairs in Mon State and Tenasserim, especially after the rainy season when the area’s mostly dirt roads are repaired.

Local residents were also forced to make repairs to the Khawza hospital. On January 13th, 3 carpenters were ordered to fix broken windows, mirrors and other minor damage in the building. They were not reimbursed for their time, labor or the purchase of necessary supplies.

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