Chin locals forced to work on road reconstruction

Feb 19, 2009 (DVB)-Locals in Chin state’s Htantalan township are being forced to work on the reconstruction of an old road and donate money towards the project in order to gain favour with authorities.

An ethnic Chin local in Hakha village said that Dr Mu Htan, who was elected by Htantalan as an independent representative for the people’s parliament in 1990, is making locals work on the reconstruction.

"He is forcing locals to contribute one head per household for one week for the road construction with no meal provided," said the man.

Mu Htan is known to have close business deals with the government. It is thought that locals are being forced into the work to gain favour with Chin state’s Peace and Development Council chairman colonel Hon Ngai.

"Also he is aiming to collect 62 million kyat donation money for that project and has been pressuring parents of local youths who are living abroad now to ask for money from them," said the man.

The reconstruction is being done on an old road linking the state’s capital Hakha to Hmandaw village in Sagaing division, halfway between Kalay and Gantgaw townships.

Hakha locals have said they were worried they might miss the marking of the Chin national day on 20 February because they had to do work for Mu Htan.

Mu Htan was unavailable for comments.

Reporting by Khin Maung Soe Min

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