USDA demands money for local improvements

Jan 20, 2009 (DVB), The Union Solidarity and Development Association has been trying to rally support in the poorer suburbs of Rangoon in preparation for the proposed 2010 election by offering to make improvements to local infrastructure.

USDA members have been demanding 100,000 to 150,000 kyat from each household for street repairs and to connect the water supply to their homes in South and North Dagon townships, according to a local resident.

The two townships do not currently have water supplied directly to homes, but local people are said to be unwilling to pay hundreds of thousands of kyat to the USDA.

The USDA has collected money from local residents on several occasions in the past on the pretext of road repairs and connecting the water supply, but the work was never done, the resident complained.

Local university graduates have also been forced to attend training courses organised by the USDA and were given strict orders by trainers not to give out the details of what they were taught, locals said.

In recent days, new members have been recruited for the USDA, the Women's Affairs Federation and the fire brigade in Mon state’s populous Mudon township in advance of the 2010 election.

Reporting by Ahunt Phone Myat

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