Direct Hkamti-Monywa boat service to return on Chindwin
A BAN on motorboat transport between Hkamti and Monywa along the Chindwin River is set to be lifted, according to Sagaing Region’s Minister for Electricity, Industry and Transportation U Than Nyunt Win.
Direct services between the two towns were banned in June of this year by the regional government following complaints from Homalin township boating associations.
Homalin is the midway point in the journey, where prior to the introduction of a direct service between Hkamti and Monywa, travellers had to change boats, sometimes requiring them to spend a night in the town.
The ban on direct services once again meant that travellers were forced to take two boats, costing them significantly more money.
“If you’d go directly from Hkamti to Monywa, it would cost you less than K2000,” said Hkamti resident U Aung San Myint. “After the closure of the direct lines, the cost of motorboat fares increased, and the cost of overnight stays in guesthouses also went up. If the direct services were reinstated, travel expenses could be saved and the flow of goods would be faster.”
The direct-route ban also affected trade along the river, according to U Soe Win, another Hkamti local, who said that the increased journey time meant food arriving to Hkamti was no longer fresh.
Minister U Than Nyunt Win said that the regional government decided to lift the ban following the submission of a petition that called for the reintroduction of direct services, which had more than 1000 signatures.
“We are planning to give permission [to operate direct motorboat services between Hkamti and Monywa] following a decision of the regional ministers. However, we will scrutinise each business well. We are not planning to grant licences to every prospective operator,” the minister said.
Prior to the ban, four motorboat companies had permission to operate direct routes between the two cities. Four more companies have applied to operate once the ban is officially lifted.
– Translation by Kyawt Darly Lin