Narinjara news

Townspeople ordered to construct sidewalks in Western Burma

Sittwe, 20 September 02:  The Burmese junta, State Peace and Development Council, have issued an order to the townspeople of Sittwe, the capital of the western Burmese state of Arakan, to construct sidewalks in front of their respective houses on 10 August this year.

The mandatory order requires the house owners to build 3 foot wide and two foot deep sidewalks extending to the entire length of respective houses with their own money and manpower.  The official order further stated that the respective house owners will be jailed for not less than three years and will face eviction for non-compliance. 

According to a houseowner, as the junta have no funds for renovation of the roads and drains it has ordered to dig drains and build sidewalks by the own efforts of the townspeople. 

Most of the drains, roads and lanes in the state capital have deteriorated beyond repair due to incessant rain during the monsoon months this year that prompted the Burmese junta officials to issue the order for compulsory repair of roads, ditches, sidewalks and drains in the capital.  Every Saturday the townspeople have to offer ‘voluntary labour’  a euphemism for forced labour   for digging ditches and drains, holding cleanliness drives, and constructing sidewalks.

The burden on the townspeople due to the order has already proved harsh.  Our correspondent found many worried houseowners who were apprehensive of the similar eviction of the owners of the houses near the main road who could not build brick houses with corrugated iron roofs in 1989 as ordered by the Burmese junta.    #