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A monastery once presided over by famed monk Ledi Sayadaw is to be moved from its current grounds — the site of the Latpadaung copper mine.
Government authorities and project operators are preparing to move the holy structure despite demonstrated local disproval.
The Buddhist structures, currently located by the side of the in Monywa-Bassein Highway Road in the Salingyi district of Monywa, will be moved to a new site 1.5 km away from their original location.
On 25 February high-ranking monks of the government-linked Manhana, the National Head Monks Association, sanctioned the move by virtue of a traditional ceremony.
Present at the ceremony was government minister Hla Tun, chairman of the Committee to Implement Recommendations by the Latpadaung Investigation Commission.
Local villagers, however, who have demanded the preservation of the religious structures, said local representatives — monks and laymen alike — were absent from the ceremony.
“There weren’t any local monks at the ceremony nor any other locals — it was only joined by monks from the state and local-level Mahanas giving a green-light to destroy the structures,” said Buddhist monk Ashin Arlawka of San Myawady Monastery in Zeetaw village.
“It is a very sad affair [that] the head monks of the nation, deemed a Buddhist country, have approved such a decision.”
Min Min, an anti-Latpadaung mining project campaigner from the Committee to Protect the Interests of the Latpadaung Mountain said that the implementation committee has neglected the findings of the Latpadaung Investigation Commission.
“The local public has clearly stated previously that they will support continuation of the project only when the recommendations by the Latpadaung Investigation Commission were specifically fulfilled — the commission recommended to relocate the structures to an appropriate location, without causing damage, through negotiation with local influential monks — but now it seemed like they are planning to just demolish the structures and replace them with new ones at the new locations.”