Villagers forced to work on school reconstruction

Jan 5, 2009 (DVB), Local authorities in Natsinchaung village in Rangoon's Zeegone township have been forcing local people to contribute to reconstruction work on a school destroyed by Cyclone Nargis, villagers said.

Villagers have been forced to provide stones and grit and carry cement and those who could not work were ordered to pay 5000 kyat.

"It is being done on the orders of ward chief Soe Soe, temporary chief U Kala and village chair Ko Kyaw Swe," a villager said.

"People are feeling aggrieved by it but they dare not do anything as they are afraid.

"We heard that the state provided money for the reconstruction."

Soe Soe also forced those who had received aid from national and international donors during the disaster to take part in the reconstruction of damaged roads, another villager said.

"He demanded 500 kyat from us to receive the donation of a pyi of rice and an item of clothing," the villager said.

"Nothing was given freely. I have been forced to work three times carrying stones and bags of grit and mixing cement," he said.

"We don’t know where to report it to."

Reporting by Yee May Aung

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