Mon State Chief Minister visited Mane Bala excavation site but not meet with local villagers

January 15, 2020

HURFOM: Yangon-based Royal Eagle Development Group Co., Ltd., has been excavating treasure and other valuables left by retreating Japanese troops during World War II at Mount Mane Bala near Wae Kawa village, Thanbyuzayat Township, Mon State and Mon State Chief Minister Dr Aye Zan visited the excavation site for two days on January 9 and 10, 2020. However, the Chief Minister did not meet with the local people.

“He came twice but there was no discussion with the locals. As far as I know, he (Chief Minister) has led the project and the Ministry of Irrigation also has a contribution. It looks like that he visited the site as he is the most responsible person of the project. We had no chance to meet with (Chief Minister). Last year, (the government said) they would meet with the locals but never happened,” said a local from Thanbyuzayat Township.

In early 2018, another Yangon-based Golden Geo Myanmar Co., Ltd had been excavated treasure in Mount Mane Mala but the Mon State government blocked them as they have no permission (from the Union and State governments).

But soon after the block, the Mon State government allowed Royal Eagle Myanmar Development Group to do a pilot excavation for 3 months in April, 2018. But the company failed to report any findings so the government stopped the project.

However, in January 4, 2020, Royal Eagle Myanmar Development Group has started excavation again in Mount Mane Mala.

“The Chief Minister didn’t meet with the locals. There is no transparency. It looks like that they are government so they do as they like. We aren’t allowed to meet with (the Chief Minister). We don’t oppose the government. But it isn’t democratic as the government don’t care about the people,” said the resident.

There are many rubber, betel nut and durian plantations nearby the excavation site so that the locals are worrying about possible landslide and their plantation being damaged.

“We aren’t allowed to enter the site so we just wait and see. My plantation is near the site so I’m worrying what happens next. We also don’t know how they do the excavation. I heard from my grandpa who used to be a worker of carrying things of the Japanese soldiers. He said there were mine and weapon at Mount Mane Mala. We’re worrying about explosion,” said a resident of Wae Kawa village.

The company did not informed the locals about excavation and there was no discussion between the residents and the village administrator.

“How they use things got from Mane Mala excavation? Are the things useful for the people? There was no opened discussion with the locals about the excavation. They (the government) shouldn’t do like that. There must be more transparency in government about excavation,” said Dr Aung Naing Oo, the deputy speaker of the Mon State parliament. Now, the company had already excavated 20-acre land in Mount Mane Mala but the local people filed a report to the Union government about excavation.

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