Locals reject proposed Shan parliament site to save trees
A PROPOSED Shan parliament building will have to find a new location after locals and political parties objected to the removal of 150-yearold trees.
Shan Hluttaw Chair Sai Lone Hseng (USDP; Kengtung 1) promised the community that the project will be relocated to honour the will of the people.
The proposed area in Taunggyi township’s Thittaw ward is home to 80 old pine and eucalyptus trees.
“They chose that area because the project is a top priority and the area was so close to the old building,” said resident U Aung Kyaw Naing, who met with the chair. “The chair said the project will move elsewhere during the 2016-17 budget year.”
The National League for Democracy and Shan Nationalities League for Democracy (SNLD) published statements addressed to Shan State Minister U Lin Htut (NLD; Lashio 1), objecting to the location.
Hluttaw office director U Kyaw Thu Zaw said he did not receive a letter opposing the project.
“Every place has a tree,” he said. “Without cutting down a tree, no building can be built.”
U Aung Kyaw Naing said the area was the last place along the township’s main road with 150-year-old trees.
On July 19, MP Daw Nang San San Aye (SNLD; Hsipaw 1), who was a member of the committee tasked with doling out the contract for the new building, advised the group to consider the public’s reaction to the project location, given the presence of the old trees. Community elder Sai Tun Mya suggested they build the project elsewhere and add a garden to the proposed area.
On August 14, locals tied robes to the trees to show their respect for them.
A sign campaign was aimed at the Shan State minister.
The current parliament building was opened in 1955. Some locals would like to see it renovated and used as a historical parliament building.
The parliament chair explained that the old building was built for 50 MPs; today, Shan State has 137 MPs. There is not enough space, he said.
The budget for the new Shan State parliament was approved during then-president U Thein Sein’s term.