KNPP Suspends Road Construction, Villagers Say They Need It

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By Maw Oo Myar/ Kantarawaddy Times

Construction of a road in Karenni State was halted after the Karenni National Progressive Party (KNPP) stopped it.

MP Thein Aung (aka Sel Reh) confirmed with Kantarawaddy Times the KNPP suspended work on the road between Dawtamagyi village and Pun stream in Demawso township.

“The KNPP officer told us the order came from his headquarters and would provide more information later,” Thein Aung said.

When the Kayah State chief minister paid a visit to Dawtamagyi in 2018 residents asked for the road to be built. Thein Aung told Kantarawaddy Times he also lobbied for it during proceedings in state parliament.

Khu Hte Bu, the central executive committee member for KNPP, told Kantarawaddy Times regional development projects must be discussed first with his organisation before proceeding. The state government needs to cooperate with the KNPP by not pushing them through without its consent and respect the conditions outlined in the bilateral ceasefire, Khu Hte Bu explained.

How long construction of the road will be blocked depends on what the KNPP central committee decides, he said. “We stand by our policy. We’ll look into whether locals really need this road and if it’s necessary we will cooperate (with the state government) by allowing the construction to continue,” Khu Hte Bu told Kantarawaddy Times.

The state government used to respect the bilateral ceasefire inked in 2013 and meet for peace negotiations, Khu Hte Bu said, unfortunately, this is no longer the case.

A Dawtamagyi resident told Kantarawaddy Times they need the road to transport their crops after harvest.

“We grow sesame plants near the Pun stream and during the rainy season, it’s difficult to transport them to sell. We want the road construction to proceed.”

The road that started on January 15 will be 21 ft wide and 3.261 miles long when it’s finished. Construction costs are estimated at about 240 million kyat (US$173,721) and were expected to be completed by the end of August.

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