Town el­ders to ap­peal for state coun­sel­lor’s help with Paung Laung prob­lem

The Myanmar Times - - Sport - SWAN YE HTUT swanye­htut@mm­

THE fight over the con­tro­ver­sial Paung Laung Sta­dium is be­ing taken to a higher level – all the way to the Lady her­self. De­ter­mined to re­store con­trol over the fa­cil­ity to the lo­cal com­mu­nity, ac­tivists say they will now write to State Coun­sel­lor Daw Aung San Suu Kyi ap­peal­ing for her in­ter­ven­tion.

U Kyaw Min Han, chair of the com­mit­tee set up to re­gain con­trol over the sta­dium, an­nounced the move at a meet­ing in Py­in­mana’s Jiv­i­tadana Sangha Hos­pi­tal on Oc­to­ber 9. Be­fore send­ing the let­ter, the com­mit­tee will gather as many sig­na­tures as pos­si­ble. He also raised the pos­si­bil­ity that ad­her­ents could take the mat­ter to the streets if the gov­ern­ment proved un­re­spon­sive.

Protests may seem ex­treme, but for Py­in­mana res­i­dents, op­tions are be­gin­ning to run out. Pyithu Hlut­taw MP U Than Soe Aung (NLD; Py­in­mana) has al­ready raised the mat­ter in par­lia­ment, ask­ing the gov­ern­ment on Septem­ber 22 if there was a plan to re­store the sta­dium to the lo­cal com­mu­nity. Health and Sports Min­is­ter Myint Htwe said the Myan­mar Foot­ball Fed­er­a­tion has agreed to hand over the sta­dium to min­istry con­trol, but no one has re­sponded to the demands for lo­cal man­age­ment.

The sta­dium was built by area res­i­dents with as­sis­tance from monks, lo­cal army units and stu­dents in 1973. Matches were played there un­til 2010, but the ground had been seized by Nay Pyi Taw City De­vel­op­ment Com­mit­tee in 2011 and rented out to Nay Pyi Taw FC, which had re­cently agreed to give it back.

How­ever, the ac­tivists were not sat­is­fied with the min­is­ter’s re­ply.

“U Than Soe Aung told us that the min­is­ter didn’t an­swer his ques­tion, and that he would con­tinue to do what he could to meet the lo­cals’ demands,” said U Kyaw Min Han.

Though Nay Pyi Taw FC up­graded the fa­cil­i­ties dur­ing their ten­ure, lo­cal res­i­dents say the quality of the work was not good, and had de­te­ri­o­rated.

U Than Soe Aung told The Myan­mar Times, “Nay Pyi Taw FC do­nated Paung Laung to the min­istry. So for the time be­ing, the sta­dium is a town­shipowned fa­cil­ity, and lo­cal chil­dren can play there for free. Some res­i­dents want the fa­cil­ity to be taken over by Py­in­mana township, while some want it main­tained jointly by the town el­ders and the Min­istry of [Health and] Sport.”

He added that, if it is the de­sire of the township’s res­i­dents, he will push for the sta­dium to re­turn to township con­trol.

“If they want it to be a Py­in­manaowned sta­dium, I will help them,” he said. – Trans­la­tion by Thiri Min Htun

Photo: Swan Ye Htut

A lo­cal com­mit­tee plans to solve the long-stand­ing dis­pute over who will man­age Nay Pyi Taw’s Paung Laung Sta­dium by ask­ing, via pe­ti­tion, State Coun­sel­lor Daw Aung San Suu Kyi to in­ter­vene.

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