Res­i­dents threaten Man­dalay for ig­nor­ing Ba­gan

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

BA­GAN res­i­dents on Thurs­day threat­ened to file a com­plaint against the Man­dalay re­gional govern­ment with the Anti-cor­rup­tion Com­mis­sion if it ig­nore their plea to pro­tect the city’s an­cient cul­tural her­itage.

U Myo Satt San, leader of a com­mu­nity-based group Save Ba­gan, said they have pleaded with the author­i­ties for more than two years to pre­serve Ba­gan’s cul­tural her­itage amid the on­slaught of mod­erni­sa­tion, but the pleas have been ig­nored.

In 2016, the res­i­dents sent let­ters to the State Coun­sel­lor’s of­fice and the re­gional govern­ment calling for ac­tion against mod­ern build­ings be­ing con­structed in the an­cient cul­tural zone.

They asked for conservation work there to be led by ex­perts and that lo­cal res­i­dents and NGOS en­sure the project’s trans­parency.

They fur­ther asked for re­views of the al­lo­ca­tion of public land, roads and farm­land con­fis­cated in the an­cient her­itage zone and to take ac­tion against those erect­ing fences along the Aye­yarwady River.

“We de­mand these things as we elected [the govern­ment]. It is not only for us. It is for all. We want to pro­tect the an­cient cul­ture,” said U San Win, a res­i­dent.

U Myo Satt San said that they will wait an­other three months for the re­gional govern­ment to act on their de­mands.

If no ac­tion is taken, they will file a com­plaint with the Anti-cor­rup­tion Com­mis­sion,” he said at a news brief­ing.

“If the com­mis­sion re­fuses to deal with us, we will com­plain to the pres­i­dent,” he added.

Ko Myint Zaw, an­other res­i­dent said, “Wed­dings and par­ties are be­ing cel­e­brated in Ba­gan Nan Taw Yar. They dam­age Ba­gan.”

He added that reg­u­la­tions of the De­part­ment of Ar­chae­ol­ogy must be en­forced.

U Myint Than, deputy di­rec­tor of Ar­chae­ol­ogy and Na­tional Mu­seum De­part­ment, said the author­i­ties did not ig­nore the lo­cal peo­ple.

“Af­ter talks with ho­tel own­ers, we ar­ranged to al­low the public to visit pago­das in ho­tel com­pounds. We also erected di­rec­tion signs,” he said.

UNESCO is cur­rently con­duct­ing a year-long eval­u­a­tion of the Ba­gan her­itage area which has been proposed as a world her­itage site, and the de­ci­sion on whether to list it will be made next year.

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