Di­rect Hkamti-Monywa boat ser­vice to re­turn on Chind­win

The Myanmar Times - - News - MAUNG ZAW maungzaw@mm­times.com

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

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