Thursday, April 30, 2009

Differences halt school reconstruction in Nargis-hit regions

Chiang Mai (Mizzima) – Serious differences have cropped up between the No. 1 Basic Education Department and construction companies over sanctions for rebuilding schools in Cyclone Nargis devastated regions.

The ministers of the Burmese regime assigned to supervise reconstruction work in Irrawaddy delta region identified 40 construction companies for rebuilding 680 schools in the region. But the Basic Education Department officials rejected the scheme and reassigned the reconstruction work to the companies. This has led to a deadlock where they have not been able to sign an agreement with the construction companies yet.

"The Basic Education Department wants to manage reconstruction of all the schools. So they recompiled the list of construction companies to build the schools and got it approved by the supervising ministers," a manager of a construction company told Mizzima.

At the same time, there are allegations that the construction companies are bribing the authorities concerned to get job orders for rebuilding schools at an estimated cost of Kyat 12,000 million.

Cyclone Nargis which devastated the region on May 2 and 3 last year left 84,537 dead and 53,836 missing. The Tripartite core group's joint assessment report said that an estimated up to 50 to 60 per cent of public schools, including monastic schools, in the hardest-hit 30 townships were destroyed.

With the monsoon approaching the people are worried about the differences between construction companies and government officials of the No. 1 Basic Education Department.

The junta gave some private companies construction contracts for reconstruction work in cyclone-hit regions and assigned some ministers to supervise the work.

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