Narinjara news

Kyat 200 million for Burmese Junta-favoured Pagoda

Sittwe, 17 September 02:  The Burmese junta officials in the western state of Burma have ordered their officials  to forcefully collect tolls for the renovation of a controversial pagoda built by themselves at Sittwe, the capital of Rakhine State in the western part of the country, a renowned monk in the city told Narinjara.

On the rainy night of the 20th last month the upper terrace of the pagoda, known as Lawkananda, developed three circular cracks, a most unusual thing to happen to a pagoda.

At the various market places the Burmese junta have ever since erected a large number of booths to collect money to renovate the Lawkananda pagoda  nicknamed by people as ‘Dukkha-nanda’ or ‘Suffering-nanda’ pagoda for the wide-scale use of forced labour to build this highly trumpeted pagoda completed in 1998.  Rakhine people usually avoid the pagoda as they purely believe that the pagoda though a Buddhist edifice was erected as a stroke of black magic to ‘prevent’ the independence of Rakhine State.

A well-known shrimp merchant from Sittwe told our correspondent that, traders with reputation, owners of bus services, wholesalers and business houses all over Rakhine State have already been forced to pay kyat 20,000 to 25,000 each to the pagoda fund.  Non-compliance of the order would mean doom to their trades and commerce.  The Burmese junta officials estimate that, a total of over kyat 200 million will be required to complete the renovation.

But local business community have reasons to fear that, the exact collection of tolls may not be known and it may exceed the kyat 200 million targets by many times.

At Ann, near Nasaka Tollgate #25, a Lawkananda “Donation Collection Committee” led by Ann Township Peace and Development Council general secretary has been posted to collect kyat 1,000 for each vehicle passing through the gate. Among the ‘Committee’ are Zaw Naing Oo  Township Religious Officer, Nyi Nyi Aung  Fisheries Officer, Tun Oo  Customs Officer, and Tun Shin kyi  a TPDC member, all of whom are Burmese officials from Ann.  Similar toll collection centres have also been set up in hundreds of places in seventeen townships all over the state.

Many devout Buddhist residents of Sittwe believe that the development of circular cracks is an omen that cannot be neglected  the SPDC junta is doomed to perish, the three circular cracks indicate the inevitable fall of the trio of Burmese junta leaders!

But for now, it is clear that the people of Rakhine State will sure have to undergo another spate of state-sponsored robbery and very hard days ahead.  #