Government campaign to meet villagers' needs

Dec 21, 2007 (DVB), A team of government officials who have been visiting villages in Hmawbi township to find out how they can meet the needs of villagers has been met with suspicion by locals.

Villagers said that the team, one of two that has been set up for the campaign, was led by the Rangoon division northern district police chief and the Hmawbi township chairman.

The team included police officers, legal advisors, immigration officials, township Peace and Development Council members, engineers and district-level agricultural officials and Union Solidarity and Development Association members.

They visited Ma-au Bin, Htan Pin Chaung and Myogon villages on 18 and 19 December, and are due to visit other villages in the Hmawbi area.

One villager said the officials came to ask about people's needs and see what they could do to help.

"They come to the village and give advice and promises about repairing bridges and issuing ID cards to those who still haven't got them, helping farmers with their agricultural work and giving legal advice to people facing court trials," he said.

The officials said that their campaign was intended to help the development of the area and to help villagers with their basic needs.

However, the villagers were suspicious about the genuine intentions behind the campaign.

"Even though they are saying these things, we can figure out the real reason they in doing this; as part of a propaganda campaign to get support for the basic constitution," one villager said.

The villager said that people were initially suspicious when the officials arrived in the villagers because they had previously faced harassment by the authorities.

"Instead of being happy to see these officials coming to the village, people were really worried and were wondering what they had done wrong," he said.

Reporting by Aye Nai

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