Narinjara news


Sittwe, 1
st April 02:  Ten barrels of alcohol carried in a truck were seized at  Ann, the new Western Command headquarters of Arakan (Rakhine) State of Burma, according to our correspondent quoting a source in the military.  

  The alcohol ( a produce of Tonie Distillery) carried from Rangoon was stopped at the Nasaka security check point (Gate No. 25) at the Ann Pass and seized because the driver could not produce the 'permission to carry' the consignment to the guards who challenged at the gate on the 17th March 02.  the name of the driver was Aung San Htay (37) from Insein, Rangoon.

   On inquiry it was found that, the consignment of alcohol was owned by U Tin Ko, an RSI (equivalent to Sergeant Major) from Light Infantry Battalion  344 stationed at Akyab (Sittwe), the capital of Arakan State. According to the driver, the consignment was carried in his truck on credit.  The fare for the trip was Kyat 75,000, and the  labour cost was Kyat 11,000, which the driver had to lose because of his failure to deliver the consignment.   The consignment was challenged and checked apparently by the Nasaka because they thought it to be a public-owned one.

   Just after the seizure was made there was a heated exchange of words between
the LIB 344 and the Nasaka troops.  Though the driver was released without further questioning, the consignment was seized, entailing deep dissatisfaction in the army who are running a number of bars and night clubs/karaoke joints across Arakan State

   The lone sugar mill of the state at Kyauktaw has also been turned into a distillery since the mill could not regularly be run for want of fuel oil and necessary chemicals needed to whiten the sugar produced.  An officer of the sugar mill demanded that all the alcohol produced in the distillery section is sold inside Rakhine State, besides bringing in all brands of government and nongovernmental produces of alcohol into the state, especially by military personnel.
    Frustration and high rate of alcoholism make the state the worst consumer of alcohol among the fourteen states and divisions of Burma.   The number of bars present in the towns of Rakhine State is a glaring evidence of the Burmese junta's systemic campaign of making the Rakhine people alcoholics, like the opium joints in China during the British rule, a monk in the capital Sittwe commented.  #