Tuesday, 19 November 2019

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Chin parties to target improved infrastructure with legislation

New Delhi (Mizzima) – Two ethnic Chin parties that won seats in last month’s national elections  have said road development must be prioritised in Chin State because of the poor condition of the northwestern state’s infrastructure.

Chin_JeepThe Chin Progressive Party (CPP) and Chin Nationality Party (CNP) say road communication connecting all nine townships in Chin State, as well as the state with the rest of Burma, needs to be undertaken to boost regional trade and commerce.

“There are no railways in Chin State and there aren’t even good roads. There are many townships that are not yet connected by roads. We must build roads connecting all nine townships in both northern and southern Chin State. Two main highways connecting southern and northern Chin State with mainland Burma must also be built. These highways must be all-weather links,” CPP Chairman Noe Thang Kup told Mizzima.

CNP Chairman Zo Zan added, “The total number of bridges in Chin State has not yet reached four. Only two bridges are serviceable. The rest are unusable with hanging wires and broken wood planks. There are many unfinished roads built by our forefathers and they have been similarly neglected by successive governments.”

The CPP fielded 38 candidates nationally in Burma’s November election, claiming 12 seats. Meanwhile, the CNP fielded 22 candidates, winning nine seats. In the 24-member State Assembly, the CPP and CNP each won five seats.

The CNP intends to raise the issues of better surface transport, freedom of NGO work and freedom of tourism in the State Assembly.

“Our state is directly impacted by ramifications in the economy of the rest of Burma. We can earn foreign exchange only if foreign tourists can enter our state freely. Our state has many natural beauties and historic places. We must renovate them and make them tourist attractions,” Zo Zan said.

“It would good if we could build mountain resorts for foreign tourists. Now a bottle of grapes [wine] can fetch only 2,000 kyat (about US$2). If foreign tourists can visit these places the price can rise to 10,000 kyat. Foreign investment is a potentially easy and great source of income,” Noe Thang Kup said.

Increased access to electricity throughout Chin State is also a top concern of elected Chin parties.

“We must make a motion in either the central or State Assembly for the harnessing of the Manipur River for hydropower. Currently, it can be exploited only in Kalaymyo, Sagaing Division. The state can build only small and medium hydropower stations as per the constitution. The central government controls the national power grid, including power generated by hydropower stations on the Manipur River. We must make a motion … to get as much hydropower [as possible] for the people of Chin State,” Noe Thang Kup told Mizzima.


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